• systemic inflammatory response syndrome;
  • sepsis;
  • pediatric intensive care units;
  • translational medical research



Sepsis biomarker research requires an infrastructure to identify septic patients efficiently and to collect and store specimens properly. We developed a novel infrastructure to study biomarkers of sepsis in children.


Patients in pediatric and neonatal intensive care units were enrolled prospectively; enrollment information was stored in a secure, remotely accessible database. Researchers were notified of electronic medical record (EMR) orders for blood cultures (a surrogate for a diagnostic evaluation of suspected sepsis) by a page triggered by the order. Staff confirmed patient enrollment and remotely submitted an EMR order for collection of study specimens simultaneous with the blood culture. Specimens were processed and stored by a mobile clinical research unit.


Over 2 years, 2029 patients were admitted; 138 were enrolled. Staff received pages for 95% of blood cultures collected from enrolled patients. The median time between the blood culture order and collection was 34 minutes (range 9–241). Study specimens were collected simultaneously with 41 blood cultures. The median times between specimen collection and storage for flow cytometry and cytokine analysis were 33 minutes (range 0–82) and 52 minutes (range 28–98), respectively.


This novel infrastructure facilitated prompt, proper collection and storage of specimens for sepsis biomarker analysis. Clin Trans Sci 2012; Volume #: 1–5