Background: Endotheliopathy of trauma is characterized by breakdown of the endothelial glycocalyx. Elevated biomarkers of endotheliopathy, such as serum syndecan-1 (Synd-1) ≥ 40 ng/mL, have been associated with increased need for transfusions, complications, and mortality. We hypothesized that severely injured trauma patients who exhibit elevated Synd-1 levels shortly after admission have an increased likelihood of developing sepsis. Study Design: We analyzed a subset of patients from the Pragmatic, Randomized Optimal Platelet and Plasma Ratios (PROPPR) trial who survived at least 72 hours after hospital admission, and we determined elevated Synd-1 levels (≥ 40 ng/mL) 4 hours after hospital arrival. Sepsis was defined a priori as meeting systemic inflammatory response criteria and having a known or suspected infection. Univariate analysis was performed to identify variables associated with elevated Synd-1 levels and sepsis. Significant variables at a value of p < 0.2 in the univariate analysis were chosen by purposeful selection and analyzed in a mixed effects multivariate logistic regression model to account for the 12 different study sites. Results: We included 512 patients. Of these, 402 (79%) had elevated Synd-1 levels, and 180 (35%) developed sepsis. Median Synd-1 levels at 4 hours after admission were 70 ng/dL (interquartile range [IQR] 36 to 157 ng/dL) in patients who did not develop sepsis, and 165 ng/dL [IQR 67 to 336 ng/dL] in those who did (p < 0.001). Adjusting for treatment arm and site, multivariable analyses revealed that elevated Synd-1 status, Injury Severity Score (ISS), and total blood transfused were significantly associated with an increased likelihood of developing sepsis. Conclusions: Elevated Synd-1 levels 4 hours after admission in severely injured adult trauma patients who survived the initial 72 hours after hospital admission are associated with subsequent sepsis.
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