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      Clinical relevance of procalcitonin and C-reactive protein as infection markers in renal impairment: a cross-sectional study

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          Although the clinical application of procalcitonin (PCT) as an infection marker in patients with impaired renal function (estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) <60 ml/min/1.73 m 2) has been increasing recently, it is unclear whether PCT is more accurate than C-reactive protein (CRP). We investigated the clinical value of CRP and PCT based on renal function.


          From November 2008 to July 2011, a total of 493 patients who simultaneously underwent CRP and PCT tests were enrolled. The area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve and characteristics of both markers were analyzed according to infection severity and renal function.


          In patients with impaired renal function, the area under the ROC curve was 0.876 for CRP and 0.876 for PCT. In patients with infection, CRP levels differed depending on whether the infection was localized, septic, or severely septic, whereas PCT levels were higher in patients with severe sepsis or septic shock. In patients without infection, CRP did not correlate with eGFR, while PCT was negatively correlated with eGFR.


          This study demonstrates that CRP is accurate for predicting infection in patients with impaired renal function. The study suggests that in spite of its higher cost, PCT is not superior to CRP as an infection marker in terms of diagnostic value.

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          Most cited references 22

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          Accuracy of procalcitonin for sepsis diagnosis in critically ill patients: systematic review and meta-analysis.

          Procalcitonin is widely reported as a useful biochemical marker to differentiate sepsis from other non-infectious causes of systemic inflammatory response syndrome. In this systematic review, we estimated the diagnostic accuracy of procalcitonin in sepsis diagnosis in critically ill patients. 18 studies were included in the review. Overall, the diagnostic performance of procalcitonin was low, with mean values of both sensitivity and specificity being 71% (95% CI 67-76) and an area under the summary receiver operator characteristic curve of 0.78 (95% CI 0.73-0.83). Studies were grouped into phase 2 studies (n=14) and phase 3 studies (n=4) by use of Sackett and Haynes' classification. Phase 2 studies had a low pooled diagnostic odds ratio of 7.79 (95% CI 5.86-10.35). Phase 3 studies showed significant heterogeneity because of variability in sample size (meta-regression coefficient -0.592, p=0.017), with diagnostic performance upwardly biased in smaller studies, but moving towards a null effect in larger studies. Procalcitonin cannot reliably differentiate sepsis from other non-infectious causes of systemic inflammatory response syndrome in critically ill adult patients. The findings from this study do not lend support to the widespread use of the procalcitonin test in critical care settings.
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            Peritoneal dialysis-related infections recommendations: 2005 update.

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              Comparison of procalcitonin (PCT) and C-reactive protein (CRP) plasma concentrations at different SOFA scores during the course of sepsis and MODS

              Objectives: The relation of procalcitonin (PCT) plasma concentrations compared with C-reactive protein (CRP) was analyzed in patients with different severity of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) and systemic inflammation. Patients and methods: PCT, CRP, the sepsis-related organ failure assessment (SOFA) score, the Acute Physiology, Age, Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II score and survival were evaluated in 40 patients with systemic inflammation and consecutive MODS over a period of 15 days. Results: Higher SOFA score levels were associated with significantly higher PCT plasma concentrations (SOFA 7-12: PCT 2.62 ng/ml, SOFA 19-24: PCT 15.22 ng/ml) (median), whereas CRP was elevated irrespective of the scores observed (SOFT 7-12: CRP 131 mg/l, SOFT 19-24: CRP 135 mg/l). PCT of non-surviving patients was initially not different from that of survivors but significantly increased after the fourth day following onset of the disease, whereas CRP was not different between both groups throughout the whole observation period. Conclusions: Measurement of PCT concentrations during multiple organ dysfunction syndrome provides more information about the severity and the course of the disease than that of CRP. Regarding the strong association of PCT and the respective score systems in future studies we recommend evaluation also of the severity of inflammation and MODS when PCT concentrations were compared between different types of disease.

                Author and article information

                Crit Care
                Critical Care
                BioMed Central (London )
                19 November 2014
                19 November 2014
                : 18
                : 6
                [ ]Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, 81 Irwon-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, 135-710 Republic of Korea
                [ ]Biostatistics and clinical epidemiology center, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
                © Park et al.; licensee BioMed Central. 2014

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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                Emergency medicine & Trauma


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