Procalcitonin disappointing in guiding ICU antibiotic therapy

In this single-center randomized trial, serum procalcitonin was measured for all ICU patients with suspected infections, but half of the patients’ procalcitonin values were blinded. There were no differences between the groups in antibiotic treatment days. Also, 34% of those without confirmed infection had high procalcitonin levels, and 15% of those with confirmed infection had low procalcitonin levels (abstract). In this study of ICU patients with suspected infections, procalcitonin levels did not effectively rule in or rule out confirmed infections, and did not reduce antibiotic days.

Danielle Scheurer

Dr. Scheurer is a clinical hospitalist and the Medical Director of Quality and Safety at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, and is Assistant Professor of Medicine. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, completed her residency at Duke University, and completed her Masters in Clinical Research at the Medical University of South Carolina. She also serves as the Web Editor and Physician Advisor for the Society of Hospital Medicine.

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