Presepsin as a diagnostic marker of sepsis in children and adolescents: a short critical update

Presepsin as a diagnostic marker of sepsis in children and adolescents: a short critical update


  • Lavinia Capossela Department of Pediatrics, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario “A. Gemelli”, IRCCS, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy
  • Gaia Margiotta Department of Pediatrics, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario “A. Gemelli”, IRCCS, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy
  • Serena Ferretti a:1:{s:5:"en_US";s:114:"Institute of Pediatrics, Fondazione Policlinico A. Gemelli IRCCS - Università Cattolica Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy ";}
  • Antonietta Curatola Department of Pediatrics, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario “Agostino Gemelli”, IRCCS, Rome, Italy
  • Chiara Bertolaso Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario “A. Gemelli”, IRCCS, Rome, Italy
  • Valeria Pansini
  • Lorenzo Di Sarno Department of Pediatrics, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario “A. Gemelli”, IRCCS, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy
  • Antonio Gatto Department of Pediatrics, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario “Agostino Gemelli”, IRCCS, Rome, Italy


Children, Pediatric Emergency Department, Presepsin, Sepsis, Sepsis biomarkers


Background and aim: Sepsis is a potentially fatal condition which strikes 1.2 million children worldwide per year. New biomarkers have been proposed in the assessment of the risk of sepsis progression and in the identification of patients with the worst outcome. This review aims to assess the diagnostic value of presepsin, a promising new biomarker, in pediatric sepsis, with particular attention to its usefulness in emergency department.

Methods: We performed a literature search of the last 10 years to find presepsin related studies and reports concerning pediatric population aged from 0 months to 18 years. We mainly focused on randomized placebo-control studies, followed by case-control studies, observational (both retrospective or prospective), and finally systematic reviews and meta-analysis. The article selection process was carried out independently by three reviewers.


Results: A total of 60 records were identified in literature, 49 were excluded according to the exclusion criteria. The highest presepsin sensitivity value was 100%, with a high cut-off (800.5 pg/mL). The highest sensitivity-specificity ratio was 94% vs 100%, with a similar considered presepsin cut-off (855 ng/L). As regards the presepsin cut-offs reported in the various studies, several authors agree on a critical threshold of about 650 ng/L to guarantee a sensitivity> 90%. The analyzed studies show a wide variability for patients’ age and presepsin risk cut-offs.


Conclusions: Presepsin seems to be a new useful marker for early diagnosis of sepsis, even in a pediatric emergency setting. Being a new marker of sepsis, more studies are required to better understand its potential.


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How to Cite

Capossela L, Margiotta G, Ferretti S, Curatola A, Bertolaso C, Pansini V, et al. Presepsin as a diagnostic marker of sepsis in children and adolescents: a short critical update. Acta Biomed [Internet]. 2023 Jun. 14 [cited 2024 Jul. 20];94(3):e2023062. Available from: