DNA Viremia Is Associated with Hyperferritinemia in Pediatric Sepsis

Dennis W. Simon, E. Scott Halstead, Sam Davila, Kate F. Kernan, Robert S.B. Clark, Gregory Storch, Joseph A. Carcillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the relationship between detection of DNA viruses, ferritin, and outcomes in children with severe sepsis. Study design: We enrolled 75 pediatric patients with severe sepsis admitted to a tertiary care children's hospital. Plasma ferritin was measured within 48 hours of diagnosis and subsequently twice weekly. Herpes simplex type 1, human herpesvirus 6, Epstein−Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, and adenovirus DNAemia were assessed by polymerase chain reaction. Results: The incidence of DNAemia was increased significantly in patients with ferritin ≥1000 ng/mL (78% vs 28%; P < .05). Patients with ferritin ≥1000 ng/mL were more likely to have multiple DNA viruses detected in plasma (39% vs 4%; P < .001). The number of viruses detected in plasma directly correlated with the degree of hyperferritinemia and development of combined hepatobiliary and hematologic dysfunction after we controlled for bacterial and fungal coinfections (P < .05) as well as increased mortality after we controlled for severity of illness and cancer diagnosis (OR 2.6, 95% CI 1.1-6.3, P < .05). Conclusions: Viral DNAemia was associated with hyperferritinemia and adverse outcome in pediatric severe sepsis. Prospective studies are needed to determine whether hyperferritinemia may be used to identify patients at risk of occult DNAemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-87.e2
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
StatePublished - Oct 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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