Procalcitonin as a prognostic and diagnostic tool for septic complications after major trauma

Gian Paolo Castelli, Claudio Pognani, Massimo Cita, Rolando Paladini
Critical Care Medicine 2009, 37 (6): 1845-9

OBJECTIVE: The primary aim of this study was to investigate the diagnostic value of procalcitonin (PCT) and C-reactive protein (CRP) in septic complications after major trauma. A secondary aim was to determine whether there was a prognostic value of PCT for severity of injury, organ dysfunction, and sepsis.

DESIGN: Prospective study.

SETTING: Medical/surgical intensive care unit (ICU).

PATIENTS: Ninety-four patients with consecutive trauma >or=16 years who were admitted to the ICU for an expected stay of >24 hours.


MEASUREMENTS: PCT and CRP were collected at admission and every day thereafter. The American College of Chest Physicians/Society of Critical Care Medicine Consensus Conference definition was used to identify sepsis criteria. The Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score was used to describe the severity of organ dysfunction. We retrospectively analyzed the occurrence of systemic inflammatory response syndrome and sepsis using the collected variables (criteria fulfilled at least during three continuous days).

MAIN RESULTS: Patients with trauma presented an early and significant increase in PCT at the moment of septic complications compared with concentrations measured 1 day before the diagnosis of sepsis: 0.85 vs. 3.32 ng/mL for PCT (p < 0.001) and 135 vs. 175 mg/L for CRP (p = not significant). The areas under the respective curve at admission in the diagnosis of sepsis were 0.787 (p < 0.001) and 0.489 for PCT and CRP, respectively.

CONCLUSION: PCT plasma reinduction marks possible septic complication during systemic inflammatory response syndrome after major trauma. In addition, high PCT concentration at admission after trauma in ICU patients indicates an increased risk of septic complications.

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