Background: The initial presentation of sepsis in the emergency department (ED) is difficult to distinguish from other acute illnesses based upon similar clinical presentations. A new blood parameter, a measurement of increased monocyte volume distribution width (MDW), may be used in combination with other clinical parameters to improve early sepsis detection. We sought to determine if MDW, when combined with other available clinical parameters at the time of ED presentation, improves the early detection of sepsis. Methods: A retrospective analysis of prospectively collected clinical data available during the initial ED encounter of 2158 adult patients who were enrolled from emergency departments of three major academic centers, of which 385 fulfilled Sepsis-2 criteria, and 243 fulfilled Sepsis-3 criteria within 12 h of admission. Sepsis probabilities were determined based on MDW values, alone or in combination with components of systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) or quick sepsis-related organ failure assessment (qSOFA) score obtained during the initial patient presentation (i.e., within 2 h of ED admission). Results: Abnormal MDW (> 20.0) consistently increased sepsis probability, and normal MDW consistently reduced sepsis probability when used in combination with SIRS criteria (tachycardia, tachypnea, abnormal white blood count, or body temperature) or qSOFA criteria (tachypnea, altered mental status, but not hypotension). Overall, and regardless of other SIRS or qSOFA variables, MDW > 20.0 (vs. MDW ≤ 20.0) at the time of the initial ED encounter was associated with an approximately 6-fold increase in the odds of Sepsis-2, and an approximately 4-fold increase in the odds of Sepsis-3. Conclusions: MDW improves the early detection of sepsis during the initial ED encounter and is complementary to SIRS and qSOFA parameters that are currently used for this purpose. This study supports the incorporation of MDW with other readily available clinical parameters during the initial ED encounter for the early detection of sepsis. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03145428. First posted May 9, 2017. The first subjects were enrolled June 19, 2017, and the study completion date was January 26, 2018.
- Severe sepsis