Biomarkers for the Diagnosis of Neonatal Sepsis

Clin Perinatol. 2021 Jun;48(2):215-227. doi: 10.1016/j.clp.2021.03.012.


Neonatal sepsis is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in neonates and is challenging to diagnose. Infants manifest nonspecific clinical signs in response to sepsis; these signs may be caused by noninfectious conditions. Time to antibiotics affects neonatal sepsis outcome, so clinicians need to identify and treat neonates with sepsis expeditiously. Clinicians use serum biomarkers to measure inflammation and infection and assess the infant's risk of sepsis. However, current biomarkers lack sufficient sensitivity or specificity to be consider useful diagnostic tools. Continued research to identify novel biomarkers as well as novel ways of measuring them is sorely needed.

Keywords: Biomarker; C-reactive protein; Complete blood count; Neonate; Procalcitonin; Sepsis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neonatal Sepsis* / diagnosis
  • Neonatal Sepsis* / epidemiology
  • Sepsis* / diagnosis


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • C-Reactive Protein