Reliable diagnoses of sepsis remain challenging in forensic pathology routine despite improved methods of sample collection and extensive biochemical and immunohistochemical investigations. Macroscopic findings may be elusive and have an infectious or non-infectious origin. Blood culture results can be difficult to interpret due to postmortem contamination or bacterial translocation. Lastly, peripheral and cardiac blood may be unavailable during autopsy. Procalcitonin, C-reactive protein, and interleukin-6 can be measured in biological fluids collected during autopsy and may be used as in clinical practice for diagnostic purposes. However, concentrations of these parameters may be increased due to etiologies other than bacterial infections, indicating that a combination of biomarkers could more effectively discriminate non-infectious from infectious inflammations. In this article, we propose a review of the literature pertaining to the diagnostic performance of classical and novel biomarkers of inflammation and bacterial infection in the forensic setting.
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