ENGLISH ABSTRACT
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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[Procalcitonin (PCT) as diagnostic tool for the monitoring of spondylodiscitis].

AIM: The diagnosis of spondylodiscitis is often prolonged, but it is an important differential diagnosis of backache. The discrimination between a bacterial infection and an aseptic inflammation with laboratory examinations like ESG, CRP or leukocytes is not possible. The aim of the present study was to determine the value of procalcitonin (PCT) as a diagnostic tool and monitoring parameter for spondylodiscitis and for the discrimination between bacterial infection and aseptic inflammation of the spine.

METHOD: A total of 17 patients with spondylodiscitis and 18 patients with disc herniation as control were included in this study and ESG, CRP, leukocytes, fibrinogen, PNM elastase und PCT were examined for 50 days. The median age was 65 (17-78) years and the ratio of males to females was 8 : 9 in patients with spondylodiscitis and 62 (32-87) years and 7 : 11 in patients with disc herniation. For microbiological examination, CT-guided punctures were performed in patients with spondylodiscitis.

RESULTS: In 64 % of the 17 patients with spondylodiscitis a microbiological agent was detected, in 73 % of these cases staphylococcus aureus was isolated. The laboratory parameters indicating an infection were increased except for two cases in patients with spondylodiscitis, the mean value of CRP was 115 mg/dL. Influenced by the therapy these parameters decreased during the observation period. Except for one patient with an infection of a cardiac pacemaker, the PCT concentration was not elevated in both groups (< 0.5 ng/mL). In the group with disc herniation there were no elevated laboratory parameters during the entire observation period.

CONCLUSION: PCT is not useful as diagnostic tool or monitoring parameter for spondylodiscitis. Furthermore, it is not useful for the discrimination between a bacterial infection and an aseptic inflammation of the spine.

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