Heparin-binding protein as a biomarker of post-injury sepsis in trauma patients

Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2018 Aug;62(7):962-973. doi: 10.1111/aas.13107. Epub 2018 Mar 22.


Background: Heparin-binding protein (HBP) is a neutrophil-derived protein advocated as a biomarker in sepsis. We evaluated plasma HBP as a predictor of post-injury sepsis in trauma patients.

Methods: Ninety-seven trauma patients were studied during the first week of intensive care. Injury-related data were collected and clinical parameters registered daily. Plasma HBP was sampled on day 1, 3 and 5 after trauma and evaluated for associations with injury-related parameters and sepsis. The predictive properties of HBP were compared to C-reactive protein (CRP) and white blood cell count (WBC).

Results: Median Injury Severity Score was 33, one-third of the trauma patients received massive transfusion and a quarter was in shock on arrival. Overall 30-day mortality was 8%. Plasma HBP was significantly higher in severely injured patients and associated with shock on arrival, massive transfusions and organ failure. Septic patients had higher levels of HBP only on day 5. When evaluated for prediction of onset of sepsis during the two following days after plasma sampling by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses, areas under the curves were non-significant for all time points. Similar patterns were seen for CRP and WBC.

Conclusion: In trauma patients, HBP levels are related to severity of injury and organ dysfunction. Heparin-binding protein was weakly associated with sepsis and only at the later stage of the observation period of 1 week. Moreover, HBP showed poor discriminatory properties as an early biomarker of post-injury sepsis. Trauma-induced inflammation during the post-injury phase may blunt the sepsis-predictive performance of HBP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / blood*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Proteins
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Carrier Proteins / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Length of Stay
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sepsis / blood*
  • Wounds and Injuries / blood
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications*


  • AZU1 protein, human
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • C-Reactive Protein