Decreased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level is an early prognostic marker for organ dysfunction and death in patients with suspected sepsis

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We sought to determine whether an early high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) measurement at emergency department (ED) admission is prognostic of multiorgan dysfunction syndrome (MODS) and death in a suspected sepsis cohort.

Materials and Methods:

Two hundred patients with clinically suspected sepsis were recruited at admission to our tertiary care hospital's ED. Lipids were measured at the time of first ED blood draw. Clinical data were collected via chart review. Primary outcomes of interest were development of MODS and 28-day mortality. Secondary outcomes included need for critical care, single-organ failures, days alive and free of vasopressor and ventilator support, and 90-day mortality.


High-density lipoprotein cholesterol was greatly decreased in patients who developed MODS and/or died and remained stable over the first week of admission. Receiver operator characteristic analysis demonstrated that HDL-C had superior predictive ability compared with all routine clinical markers for both development of MODS and 28-day mortality, and identified an HDL-C cutoff of 25.1 mg/dL below which patients were at significantly greater risk for development of all adverse outcomes.


Plasma HDL-C level was characterized by early decrease and high stability, and was the best prognostic marker for adverse outcomes in a suspected sepsis cohort.

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