Rapid diagnosis of sepsis in acutely ill children

Grant ID: EMPJ-378R27-2017

Project Summary

Life threatening bacterial infections such as sepsis are a leading cause of childhood mortality. International authorities recognise the urgent need for better recognition, diagnosis, and management of children with sepsis. Children in regional and remote settings are at particular risk for late or inaccurate diagnosis resulting in worse outcomes.

In this study, we are testing the feasibility, performance, time-to-diagnosis, and cost impact of applying the most advanced genomics-based sepsis diagnostic tools. This could lead to better treatment of infections, reduce unnecessary antibiotic use, shorten hospital length of stay, improve patient outcomes, and allow patients and families to be managed closer to home, with the aim to provide the same care for all children around the state. We are recruiting acutely ill children presenting with suspected sepsis to Emergency Departments, including regional and remote centres in Queensland.

Leveraged Funds

- Gold Coast University Hospital Foundation: $100,000
- Mater Foundation: $20,000
- Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation: $5000


Gelbart, B., Schlapbach, L., Ganeshalingham, A., Ganu, S., Erickson, S., Oberender, F., Hoq, M., Williams, G., George, S. and Festa, M., 2018. Fluid bolus therapy in critically ill children: A survey of practice among paediatric intensive care doctors in Australia and New Zealand. Critical Care and Resuscitation, 20(2), p.131.

Kawasaki, T., Shime, N., Straney, L., Bellomo, R., MacLaren, G., Pilcher, D. and Schlapbach, L.J., “Paediatric sequential organ failure assessment score (pSOFA): a plea for the world-wide collaboration for consensus”, Intensive care medicine, 2018; 44(6):995-997

Leclerc, F., Duhamel, A., Leteurtre, S., Straney, L., Bellomo, R., MacLaren, G., Pilcher, D. and Schlapbach, L.J., “Which organ dysfunction scores to use in children with infection?”, Intensive care medicine, 2018; 44(5):697-698

Schlapbach, L.J., MacLaren, G., Festa, M., Alexander, J., Erickson, S., Beca, J., Slater, A., Schibler, A., Pilcher, D., Millar, J. and Straney, L., 2017. Prediction of pediatric sepsis mortality within 1 h of intensive care admission. Intensive care medicine, 43(8), pp.1085-1096.

Conference presentation:
ANZICS/ACCCN Intensive Care ASM, Oct 2017



Amount Awarded


Grant Scheme


Principal Investigator:
Dr Peter Snelling

Co Investigators:
A/Prof Luregn Schlapbach
A/Prof Lachlan Coin
A/Prof Seweryn Bialasiewicz
A/Prof Julia Clark
Dr Jeremy Furyk
Prof Gracelyn Smallwood
Dr Shane George


Collaborating Institutions


  • EMF news story (30/5/18
  • Children's Health Queensland case study
  • Mater Foundation

  • Media

  • 7 News (12/7/18)
  • 7 News Gold Coast (30/5/18)
  • The Sunday Mail (10/9/17)
  • Channel 7 News (13/9/17)
  • UQ News (20/2/18)
  • CONTACT US +61 7 3720 5700 info@emfoundation.org.au Suite 1B, Terraces, 19 Lang Parade, Milton Qld 4064