Prognostic value of procalcitonin in Legionella pneumonia

  • J. Haeuptle
  • R. Zaborsky
  • R. Fiumefreddo
  • A. Trampuz
  • I. Steffen
  • R. Frei
  • M. Christ-Crain
  • B. MüllerEmail author
  • P. Schuetz


The diagnostic reliability and prognostic implications of procalcitonin (PCT) (ng/ml) on admission in patients with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) due to Legionella pneumophila are unknown. We retrospectively analysed PCT values in 29 patients with microbiologically proven Legionella-CAP admitted to the University Hospital Basel, Switzerland, between 2002 and 2007 and compared them to other markers of infection, namely, C-reactive protein (CRP) (mg/l) and leukocyte count (109/l), and two prognostic severity assessment scores (PSI and CURB65). Laboratory analysis demonstrated that PCT values on admission were >0.1 in over 93%, >0.25 in over 86%, and >0.5 in over 82% of patients with Legionella-CAP. Patients with adverse medical outcomes (59%, n = 17) including need for ICU admission (55%, n = 16) and/or inhospital mortality (14%, n = 4) had significantly higher median PCT values on admission (4.27 [IQR 2.46–9.48] vs 0.97 [IQR 0.29–2.44], p = 0.01), while the PSI (124 [IQR 81–147] vs 94 [IQR 75–116], p = 0.19), the CURB65 (2 [IQR 1–2] vs 1 [1–3], p = 0.47), CRP values (282 [IQR 218–343], p = 0.28 vs 201 [IQR 147–279], p = 0.28), and leukocyte counts (12 [IQR 10–21] vs 12 [IQR 9–15], p = 0.58) were similar. In receiver operating curves, PCT concentrations on admission had a higher prognostic accuracy to predict adverse outcomes (AUC 0.78 [95%CI 0.61–96]) as compared to the PSI (0.64 [95%CI 0.43–0.86], p = 0.23), the CURB65 (0.58 [95%CI 0.36–0.79], p = 0.21), CRP (0.61 [95%CI 0.39–0.84], p = 0.19), and leukocyte count (0.57 [95%CI 0.35–0.78], p = 0.12). Kaplan-Meier curves demonstrated that patients with initial PCT values above the optimal cut-off of 1.5 had a significantly higher risk of death and/or ICU admission (log rank p = 0.003) during the hospital stay. In patients with CAP due to Legionella, PCT levels on admission might be an interesting predictor for adverse medical outcomes.


Pneumonia Severity Index Diagnostic Reliability Urine Antigen Testing Receiver Operating Curf CURB65 Score 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Competing interests

Authors PS, MCC and BM received support from BRAHMS to attend meetings and fulfilled speaking engagements. BM has served as a consultant and received research support to attend meetings and for travel expenses. All other co-authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

Authors PS, JH, RZ, RF, MCC, and BM had the idea for the study and directed the study design, data collection, and analysis and writing of the report. Authors RF, IS, and AT each had substantial contributions in planning of the study, data collection, interpretation of data, and/or writing of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Haeuptle
    • 1
  • R. Zaborsky
    • 1
  • R. Fiumefreddo
    • 1
  • A. Trampuz
    • 2
  • I. Steffen
    • 3
  • R. Frei
    • 5
  • M. Christ-Crain
    • 1
  • B. Müller
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • P. Schuetz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Internal MedicineUniversity Hospital BaselBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.Division of Infectious DiseasesUniversity Hospital BaselBaselSwitzerland
  3. 3.Institute of Medical MicrobiologyUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  4. 4.Department of Internal MedicineKantonsspital AarauAarauSwitzerland
  5. 5.Microbiology LaboratoryUniversity Hospital BaselBaselSwitzerland

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