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Complement activation in relation to age in patients with severe sepsis


Severe sepsis is still associated with a mortality of 29% [1]. Sepsis mortality is highest in elderly patients [1]. Another factor, which is related to outcome in sepsis is the extent of complement activation [2]. The aim of this study was to evaluate complement activation in relation to age in severe septic patients.


This observational study was performed in 20 patients with severe sepsis (SOFA-Score = 9 ± 3) and grouped according to age: = 60 years ('adult', n = 10) and > 65 years ('elderly', n = 10). Complement proteins Bb, C3a, C4d were performed by ELISA technique. C1-Inhibitor (C1-Inh) activity was measured by Berichrom® C1-Inactivator, and C1-Inh protein concentration by NOR-Partigen®. To compare values at onset of severe sepsis with those on the 8 th day Friedman test with post-hoc Wilcoxon test was performed. Data are presented as median and range. *P < 0.05 was considered significant.


See Table 1.

Table 1


Activation of the classical pathway of complement was found to be more marked in adult patients than in elderly. Thus, our results suggest age-related differences in the complement activation in severe sepsis.


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Marx, G., Vangerow, B., Rueckoldt, H. et al. Complement activation in relation to age in patients with severe sepsis. Crit Care 6 (Suppl 1), P108 (2002).

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