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      Point-of-care procalcitonin test to reduce antibiotic exposure in patients hospitalized with acute exacerbation of COPD

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          This study was conducted to investigate whether point-of-care (POC) procalcitonin (PCT) measurement can reduce redundant antibiotic treatment in patients hospitalized with acute exacerbation of COPD (AECOPD).


          One-hundred and twenty adult patients admitted with AECOPD were enrolled in this open-label randomized trial. Patients were allocated to either the POC PCT-guided intervention arm (n=62) or the control arm, in which antibiotic therapy followed local guidelines (n=58).


          The median duration of antibiotic exposure was 3.5 (interquartile range [IQR] 0–10) days in the PCT-arm vs 8.5 (IQR 1–11) days in the control arm ( P=0.0169, Wilcoxon) for the intention-to-treat population. The proportion of patients using antibiotics for ≥5 days within the 28-day follow-up was 41.9% (PCT-arm) vs 67.2% ( P=0.006, Fisher’s exact) in the intention-to-treat population. For the per-protocol population, the proportions were 21.1% (PCT-arm) vs 73.9% ( P<0.00001, Fisher’s exact). Within 28-day follow-up, one patient died in the PCT-arm and two died in the control arm. A composite harm end point consisting of death, rehospitalization, or intensive care unit admission, all within 28 days, showed no apparent difference.


          Our study shows that the implementation of a POC PCT-guided algorithm can be used to substantially reduce antibiotic exposure in patients hospitalized with AECOPD, with no apparent harm.

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          Most cited references 19

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          Respiratory viruses, symptoms, and inflammatory markers in acute exacerbations and stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

          The effects of respiratory viral infection on the time course of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbation were examined by monitoring changes in systemic inflammatory markers in stable COPD and at exacerbation. Eighty-three patients with COPD (mean [SD] age, 66.6 [7.1] yr, FEV(1), 1.06 [0.61] L) recorded daily peak expiratory flow rate and any increases in respiratory symptoms. Nasal samples and blood were taken for respiratory virus detection by culture, polymerase chain reaction, and serology, and plasma fibrinogen and serum interleukin-6 (IL-6) were determined at stable baseline and exacerbation. Sixty-four percent of exacerbations were associated with a cold occurring up to 18 d before exacerbation. Seventy-seven viruses (39 [58.2%] rhinoviruses) were detected in 66 (39.2%) of 168 COPD exacerbations in 53 (64%) patients. Viral exacerbations were associated with frequent exacerbators, colds with increased dyspnea, a higher total symptom count at presentation, a longer median symptom recovery period of 13 d, and a tendency toward higher plasma fibrinogen and serum IL-6 levels. Non-respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) respiratory viruses were detected in 11 (16%), and RSV in 16 (23.5%), of 68 stable COPD patients, with RSV detection associated with higher inflammatory marker levels. Respiratory virus infections are associated with more severe and frequent exacerbations, and may cause chronic infection in COPD. Prevention and early treatment of viral infections may lead to a decreased exacerbation frequency and morbidity associated with COPD.
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            New strains of bacteria and exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

            The role of bacterial pathogens in acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is controversial. In older studies, the rates of isolation of bacterial pathogens from sputum were the same during acute exacerbations and during stable disease. However, these studies did not differentiate among strains within a bacterial species and therefore could not detect changes in strains over time. We hypothesized that the acquisition of a new strain of a pathogenic bacterial species is associated with exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We conducted a prospective study in which clinical information and sputum samples for culture were collected monthly and during exacerbations from 81 outpatients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Molecular typing of sputum isolates of nonencapsulated Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa was performed. Over a period of 56 months, the 81 patients made a total of 1975 clinic visits, 374 of which were made during exacerbations (mean, 2.1 per patient per year). On the basis of molecular typing, an exacerbation was diagnosed at 33.0 percent of the clinic visits that involved isolation of a new strain of a bacterial pathogen, as compared with 15.4 percent of visits at which no new strain was isolated (P<0.001; relative risk of an exacerbation, 2.15; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.83 to 2.53). Isolation of a new strain of H. influenzae, M. catarrhalis, or S. pneumoniae was associated with a significantly increased risk of an exacerbation. The association between an exacerbation and the isolation of a new strain of a bacterial pathogen supports the causative role of bacteria in exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Copyright 2002 Massachusetts Medical Society
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              High serum procalcitonin concentrations in patients with sepsis and infection.

              High concentrations of calcitonin-like immunoreactivity have been found in the blood of patients with various extrathyroid diseases. By means of a monoclonal immunoradiometric assay for calcitonin precursors, we have measured serum concentrations of procalcitonin in patients with various bacterial and viral infections. 79 children (newborn to age 12 years) in hospital with suspected infections were investigated prospectively. 19 patients with severe bacterial infections had very high serum concentrations of procalcitonin at diagnosis (range 6-53 ng/mL) in comparison with 21 children found to have no signs of infection (baseline concentrations < 0.1 ng/mL). Serum procalcitonin values decreased rapidly during antibiotic therapy. 11 patients with peripheral bacterial colonisation or local infections without invasive sepsis and 18 (86%) of 21 patients with viral infections had concentrations within or slightly above the normal range (0.1-1.5 ng/mL). Among 9 severely burned patients studied in an intensive care unit, the post-traumatic course of procalcitonin concentrations (range 0.1-120 ng/mL) was closely related to infectious complications and acute septic episodes. Concentrations of mature calcitonin were normal in all subjects, whatever procalcitonin concentrations were found. Concentrations of a substance immunologically identical to procalcitonin are raised during septic conditions. Serum concentrations seem to be correlated with the severity of microbial invasion.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                22 June 2016
                : 11
                : 1381-1389
                [1 ]Department of Respiratory Medicine, Copenhagen University Hospital Bispebjerg, Copenhagen
                [2 ]Department of Clinical Microbiology, Copenhagen University Hospital Hvidovre, Hvidovre, Denmark
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Caspar Corti, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, Kildegaardsvej 28, 2900 Hellerup, Denmark, Tel +45 5282 4778, Email caspar.corti@
                © 2016 Corti et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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