, Volume 30, Issue 7, pp 831-836,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 19 May 2011

Procalcitonin as a potent marker of bacterial infection in febrile Afro-Caribbean patients at the emergency department

Abstract

Procalcitonin (PCT) has been shown to be of additional value in the work-up of a febrile patient. This study is the first to investigate the additional value of PCT in an Afro-Caribbean febrile population at the emergency department (ED) of a general hospital. Febrile patients were included at the ED. Prospective, blinded PCT measurements were performed in patients with a microbiologically or serologically confirmed diagnosis or a strongly suspected diagnosis on clinical grounds. PCT analysis was performed in 93 patients. PCT levels differentiated well between confirmed bacterial and confirmed viral infection (area under the curve [AUC] of 0.82, sensitivity 85%, specificity 69%, cut-off 0.24 ng/mL), between confirmed bacterial infection and non-infectious fever (AUC of 0.84, sensitivity 90%, specificity 71%, cut-off 0.21 ng/mL) and between all bacterial infections (confirmed and suspected) and non-infectious fever (AUC of 0.80, sensitivity 85%, specificity 71%, cut-off 0.21 ng/mL). C-reactive protein (CRP) levels were shown to be less accurate when comparing the same groups. This is the first study showing that, in a non-Caucasian febrile population at the ED, PCT is a more valuable marker of bacterial infection than CRP. These results may improve diagnostics and eventually decrease antibiotic prescriptions in resource-limited settings.