Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

High mortality after discharge from hospital following acute illness has been observed among children with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM). However, mechanisms that may be amenable to intervention to reduce risk are unknown. We performed a nested case-control study among HIV-uninfected children aged 2-59 months treated for complicated SAM according to WHO recommendations at four Kenyan hospitals. Blood was drawn from 1778 children when clinically judged stable before discharge from hospital. Cases were children who died within 60 days. Controls were randomly selected children who survived for one year without readmission to hospital. Untargeted proteomics, total protein, cytokines and chemokines, and leptin were assayed in plasma and corresponding biological processes determined. Among 121 cases and 120 controls, increased levels of calprotectin, von Willebrand factor, angiotensinogen, IL8, IL15, IP10, TNFα, and decreased levels of leptin, heparin cofactor 2, and serum paraoxonase were associated with mortality after adjusting for possible confounders. Acute phase responses, cellular responses to lipopolysaccharide, neutrophil responses to bacteria, and endothelial responses were enriched among cases. Among apparently clinically stable children with SAM, a sepsis-like profile is associated with subsequent death. This may be due to ongoing bacterial infection, translocated bacterial products or deranged immune response during nutritional recovery.

Original publication




Journal article


Scientific reports

Publication Date





The Childhood Acute Illness & Nutrition (CHAIN) Network, Nairobi, Kenya.


Humans, Patient Discharge, Case-Control Studies, Time Factors, Infant, Female, Male, Biomarkers, Severe Acute Malnutrition