Point-of-Care Serum Proenkephalin as an Early Predictor of Mortality in Patients Presenting to the Emergency Department with Septic Shock

Biomedicines. 2024 May 2;12(5):1004. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines12051004.


Background: The aim of the present study is to investigate the prognostic utility of point-of-care (POC)-measured proenkephalin (PENK), a novel biomarker, in terms of predicting in-hospital mortality in patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with septic shock.

Methods: Bedside PENK was measured in consecutive patients presenting to the ED with septic shock according to the Sepsis-3 clinical criteria. The association of PENK with inflammatory and routine biomarkers, and its role as a predictor of in-hospital mortality, was examined.

Results: Sixty-one patients with septic shock [53% females, median age 83 years (IQR 71-88)] were evaluated. Median (IQR) values of creatinine, plasma lactate, soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (SuPAR), procalcitonin and PENK were 1.7 (1.0-2.9) mg/dL, 3.6 (2.1-6.8) mmol/L, 13.1 (10.0-21.4) ng/mL, 2.06 (0.84-3.49) ng/mL, and 205 (129-425) pmol/L, respectively. LogPENK significantly correlated with LogLactate (rho = 0.369, p = 0.004), LogCreatinine (rho = 0.537, p < 0.001), LogProcalcitonin (rho = 0.557, p < 0.001), and LogSuPAR (rho = 0.327, p = 0.011). During hospitalization, 39/61 (64%) patients died. In a multivariable logistic regression model, logPENK was an independent predictor of in-hospital mortality (OR 11.9, 95% CI: 1.7-84.6, p = 0.013).

Conclusion: POC PENK levels measured upon presentation to the ED strongly correlated with metabolic, renal and inflammatory biomarkers, and may serve as a predictor of in-hospital mortality in patients with septic shock.

Keywords: biomarker; emergency department; point-of-care; proenkephalin; septic shock.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.