Predictive Value of IL-8 for Sepsis and Severe Infections After Burn Injury: A Clinical Study

Shock. 2015 Mar;43(3):222-7. doi: 10.1097/SHK.0000000000000294.


The inflammatory response induced by burn injury contributes to increased incidence of infections, sepsis, organ failure, and mortality. Thus, monitoring postburn inflammation is of paramount importance but, so far, there are no reliable biomarkers available to monitor and/or predict infectious complications after burn. As interleukin 8 (IL-8) is a major mediator for inflammatory responses, the aim of our study was to determine whether IL-8 expression can be used to predict postburn sepsis, infections, and mortality. Plasma cytokines, acute-phase proteins, constitutive proteins, and hormones were analyzed during the first 60 days after injury from 468 pediatric burn patients. Demographics and clinical outcome variables (length of stay, infection, sepsis, multiorgan failure [MOF], and mortality) were recorded. A cutoff level for IL-8 was determined using receiver operating characteristic analysis. Statistical significance is set at P < 0.05. Receiver operating characteristic analysis identified a cutoff level of 234 pg/mL for IL-8 for survival. Patients were grouped according to their average IL-8 levels relative to this cutoff and stratified into high (H) (n = 133) and low (L) (n = 335) groups. In the L group, regression analysis revealed a significant predictive value of IL-8 to percent of total body surface area burned and incidence of MOF (P < 0.001). In the H group, IL-8 levels were able to predict sepsis (P < 0.002). In the H group, elevated IL-8 was associated with increased inflammatory and acute-phase responses compared with the L group (P < 0.05). High levels of IL-8 correlated with increased MOF, sepsis, and mortality. These data suggest that serum levels of IL-8 may be a valid biomarker for monitoring sepsis, infections, and mortality in burn patients.

Trial registration: NCT00675714.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Burns / blood*
  • Burns / complications*
  • Burns / mortality
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infections / blood*
  • Infections / etiology*
  • Infections / mortality
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood
  • Interleukin-8 / blood*
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Multiple Organ Failure / blood
  • Multiple Organ Failure / etiology
  • Multiple Organ Failure / mortality
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sepsis / blood*
  • Sepsis / etiology*
  • Sepsis / mortality


  • Biomarkers
  • CXCL8 protein, human
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Interleukin-8

Associated data