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Editorials |

Cytokines: The Tomb Markers of the ICU

Peter J. Papadakos, MD, FCCP; Jack J. Haitsma, MD, PhD
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: Rochester, NY
 ,  Rotterdam, the Netherlands
 ,  Dr. Papadakos is Director, Division of Critical Care Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Rochester; and Dr. Haitsma is Visiting Research Fellow, University of Rochester, and Researcher, Erasmus University.

Correspondence to: Peter J. Papadakos, MD, FCCP, Director, Division of Critical Care Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14642; e-mail: peter_papadakos@urmc.rochester.edu



Chest. 2004;125(6):1980-1982. doi:10.1378/chest.125.6.1980
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A study1 reported that severe sepsis accounts for > 215,000 deaths annually from a total population of approximately 750,000 patients, which means a mortality rate of 29%. Multiple other reports quote a range between 25% and 50%. Mortality levels may be much higher in the developing world. Such high mortality has lead to widespread research and the expenditure of billions of dollars. This has lead to a great deal of progress in the last few years in our understanding of the molecular and genetic factors that affect the pathophysiology of sepsis and severe illness. This ability to leave the whole-organism model to now study the cellular model has lead to introduction of many possible treatment options.2 With the release by the pharmaceutical industry of activated protein C, we now have targeted therapy toward specific cellular functions, which are modulated by the systemic inflammatory response and cytokine levels.3 This avenue of therapy will only expand in the next few years as multiple clinical trials come to completion.

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