qSOFA combined with suPAR for early risk detection and guidance of antibiotic treatment in the emergency department: a randomized controlled trial

Maria Evangelia Adami, Antigone Kotsaki, Nikolaos Antonakos, Efthymia Giannitsioti, Stamatios Chalvatzis, Maria Saridaki, Christina Avgoustou, Karolina Akinosoglou, Konstantina Dakou, Georgia Damoraki, Konstantina Katrini, Panagiotis Koufargyris, Vasileios Lekakis, Antonia Panagaki, Asimina Safarika, Jesper Eugen-Olsen, Evangelos J Giamarellos-Bourboulis

2 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Sepsis guidelines suggest immediate start of resuscitation for patients with quick Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (qSOFA) 2 or 3. However, the interpretation of qSOFA 1 remains controversial. We investigated whether measurements of soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) may improve risk detection when qSOFA is 1.

METHODS: The study had two parts. At the first part, the combination of suPAR with qSOFA was analyzed in a prospective cohort for early risk detection. At the second part, the double-blind, randomized controlled trial (RCT) SUPERIOR evaluated the efficacy of the suPAR-guided medical intervention. SUPERIOR took place between November 2018 and December 2020. Multivariate stepwise Cox regression was used for the prospective cohort, while univariate and multivariate logistic regression was used for the RCT. Consecutive admissions at the emergency department (ED) with suspected infection, qSOFA 1 and suPAR ≥ 12 ng/mL were allocated to single infusion of placebo or meropenem. The primary endpoint was early deterioration, defined as at least one-point increase of admission Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score the first 24 h.

RESULTS: Most of the mortality risk was for patients with qSOFA 2 and 3. Taking the hazard ratio (HR) for death of patients with qSOFA = 1 and suPAR < 12 ng/mL as reference, the HR of qSOFA = 1 and suPAR ≥ 12 ng/mL for 28-day mortality was 2.98 (95% CI 2.11-3.96). The prospective RCT was prematurely ended due to pandemia-related ED re-allocations, with 91 patients enrolled: 47 in the placebo and 44 in the meropenem arm. The primary endpoint was met in 40.4% (n = 19) and 15.9% (n = 7), respectively (difference 24.5% [5.9-40.8]; odds ratio 0.14 [0.04-0.50]). One post hoc analysis showed significant median changes of SOFA score after 72 and 96 h equal to 0 and - 1, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Combining qSOFA 1 with the biomarker suPAR improves its prognostic performance for unfavorable outcome and can help decision for earlier treatment. Trial registration EU Clinical Trials Register (EudraCT, 2018-001008-13) and Clinical-Trials.gov (NCT03717350). Registered 24 October 2018.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical care (London, England)
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)42
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2024


  • Humans
  • Organ Dysfunction Scores
  • Receptors, Urokinase Plasminogen Activator
  • Meropenem
  • Sepsis
  • Prognosis
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Hospital Mortality
  • ROC Curve
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk
  • suPAR


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