Sepsis and systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) are major causes of morbidity and mortality after cardiopulmonary bypass. Attempts to suppress proinflammatory mediators have failed to improve outcomes in sepsis or in patients undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass. Recent work in adult patients has suggested that the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory mediators is more important than the level of proinflammatory response alone. This balance may be reflected by the expression of monocyte human lymphocyte antigen (HLA)-DR, with low concentrations indicating an excess of anti-inflammatory stimuli and relative immunodeficiency. We investigated the relationship between monocyte HLA-DR expression and the subsequent development of sepsis/SIRS in children undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass.
A prospective, observational, clinical study.
A tertiary pediatric cardiac center.
Eighty-two infants and children undergoing elective cardiac surgery between March and December 1999.
Measurements and Main Results
Monocyte HLA-DR expression was assessed before and after surgery and was found to be related to the length of hospital stay and the development of complications including sepsis/SIRS. The inflammatory insult of cardiopulmonary bypass decreased monocyte HLA-DR expression in all children. Lowest concentrations were seen within 72 hrs of surgery and were significantly lower in cases that subsequently required prolonged intensive care support (p < .0001, Mann-Whitney). HLA-DR expression on <60% of circulating monocytes was associated with a greatly increased risk of later (minimum 4 days) development of sepsis/SIRS (odds ratio, 12.9; 95% confidence interval, 3.4–47.5). Low HLA-DR was an independent predictor for the development of sepsis/SIRS after correction for age, bypass time, complexity of surgery, Paediatric Index of Mortality, and surgeon on multiple logistic regression analysis.
Patients with decreased HLA-DR in the early postoperative period represent a subpopulation at greatly increased risk of later sepsis/SIRS. Such patients may benefit from strategies aimed to reduce this risk.