Procalcitonin Kinetics in the First 72 Hours Predicts 30-Day Mortality in Severely Ill Septic Patients Admitted to an Intermediate Care Unit

Filippo Pieralli, Vieri Vannucchi, Antonio Mancini, Elisa Antonielli, Fabio Luise, Lucia Sammicheli, Valerio Turchi, Ombretta Para, Francesca Bacci, Carlo Nozzoli


Background: Severe sepsis and septic shock are leading causes of morbidity and mortality among critically ill patients, thus the identification of prognostic factors is crucial to determine their outcome. In this study, we explored the value of procalcitonin (PCT) variation in predicting 30-day mortality in patients with sepsis admitted to an intermediate care unit.

Methods: This prospective observational study enrolled 789 consecutive patients with severe sepsis and septic shock admitted to a medical intermediate care unit between November 2012 and February 2014. Kinetics of PCT expressed as percentage were defined by the variation between admission and 72 hours, and 24 and 72 hours; they were defined as Δ-PCT0-72h and Δ-PCT24-72h, respectively.

Results: The final study group of 144 patients featured a mean age of 73 ± 14 years, with a high prevalence of comorbidities (Charlson index greater than 6 in 39%). Overall, 30-day mortality was 28.5% (41/144 patients). A receiver-operating-characteristic (ROC) analysis identified a decrease of Δ-PCT0-72h less than 15% (area under the curve: 0.75; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.67 - 0.82) and a decrease of Δ-PCT24-72h less than 20% (area under the curve: 0.83; 95% CI: 0.74 - 0.92) as the most accurate cut-offs in predicting mortality. Decreases of Δ-PCT0-72h less than 15% (HR: 3.9, 95% CI: 1.6 - 9.5; P < 0.0001) and Δ-PCT24-72h less than 20% (HR: 3.1, 95% CI: 1.2 - 7.9; P < 0.001) were independent predictors of 30-day mortality.

Conclusions: Evaluation of PCT kinetics over the first 72 hours is a useful tool for predicting 30-day mortality in patients with severe sepsis and septic shock admitted to an intermediate care unit.

J Clin Med Res. 2015;7(9):706-713


Procalcitonin; Sepsis; Biomarker; High dependency unit; Intermediate care unit

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