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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 55  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 266-270

Procalcitonin as an adjunctive biomarker in sepsis

1 Department of Microbiology, Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Microbiology, Apollo Hospitals, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Chest Medicine, Apollo Hospitals, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
4 Department of Intensive Medicine, Sahyadri Hospital, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Mahua Sinha
Department of Microbiology, Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Bangalore, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5049.82676

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Sepsis can sometimes be difficult to substantiate, and its distinction from non-infectious conditions in critically ill patients is often a challenge. Serum procalcitonin (PCT) assay is one of the biomarkers of sepsis. The present study was aimed to assess the usefulness of PCT assay in critically ill patients with suspected sepsis. The study included 40 patients from the intensive care unit with suspected sepsis. Sepsis was confirmed clinically and/or by positive blood culture. Serum PCT was assayed semi-quantitatively by rapid immunochromatographic technique (within 2 hours of sample receipt). Among 40 critically ill patients, 21 had clinically confirmed sepsis. There were 12 patients with serum PCT ≥10 ng/ml (8, blood culture positive; 1, rickettsia; 2, post-antibiotic blood culture sterile; and 1, non-sepsis); 7 patients with PCT 2-10 ng/ml (4, blood culture positive; 1, falciparum malaria; 2, post-antibiotic blood culture sterile); 3 patients with PCT of 0.5 to 2 ng/ml (sepsis in 1 patient); and 18 patients with PCT < 0.5 ng/ml (sepsis in 2 patients). Patients with PCT ≥ 2 ng/ml had statistically significant correlation with the presence of sepsis (P<0.0001). The PCT assay revealed moderate sensitivity (86%) and high specificity (95%) at a cut-off ≥ 2 ng/ml. The PCT assay was found to be a useful biomarker of sepsis in this study. The assay could be performed and reported rapidly and provided valuable information before availability of culture results. This might assist in avoiding unwarranted antibiotic usage.

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