Specific biomarker levels can help differentiate children who require emergent medical interventions, such as procedures, surgeries, or antibiotics, from those who may not. Appropriate application of biomarkers after a thorough history and physical examination can potentially improve cost-effective management by minimizing unnecessary procedures and tests without sacrificing patient safety.
Our recent issue Current Practice and Pitfalls of Select Biomarkers in the Emergency Care of Children reviews the literature regarding 4 biomarkers: lactate, C-reactive protein, ferritin, and procalcitonin. Evidence-based recommendations are made for the clinical evaluation of bacterial meningitis, common infections, and appendicitis.
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Here are a few key points:
- Biomarkers have limitations. Do not apply biomarkers for patients with neutropenia, a recent history of antibiotic therapy, or significant comorbidities.
- Obtain a thorough history and physical examination and develop a differential diagnosis before applying biomarkers.
- Biomarker values are sometimes reported differently in the literature and may need to be converted.
Last Updated on January 25, 2023