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Open Access Research article

Procalcitonin as a marker of sepsis and outcome in patients with neurotrauma: an observation study

Shuixiang Deng1, Hechen Zhu1, Kunlun Wang2 and Tongwa Cao1*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Intensive Care Unit, Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, 12 Wulumuqi Road (middle), Shanghai, China

2 Department of emergency, Jinshan Hospital, Fudan University, Longhang Road, Shanghai, China

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BMC Anesthesiology 2013, 13:48  doi:10.1186/1471-2253-13-48

Published: 15 December 2013

Abstract

Background

Procalcitonin (PCT) is a reliable biomarker of sepsis and infection. The level of PCT associated with sepsis and infection in patients with traumatic brain injury is currently unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the value of PCT and C-reactive protein (CRP) as diagnostic markers of sepsis and to evaluate the prognostic value of these markers related to the severity of injury, sepsis and mortality.

Methods

105 adult patients with neurotrauma were enrolled in this study from June 2011 to February 2013. PCT and CRP were measured at admission and 2, 3, 5 and 7 days after admission. The sepsis criteria established by American College of Chest Physicians /Society of Critical Care Medicine Consensus Conference were used to identify patients. Injury Severity Score (ISS) and Glasgow Coma Score (GCS) were used to assess the severity of the injury. All these patients were monitored for 28 days.

Results

At admission, the median level of PCT was consistent with the severity of brain injury as follows: mild 0.08 ng/ml (0.05 - 0.13), moderate 0.25 ng/ml (0.11 - 0.55) and severe 0.31 ng/ml (0.17 - 0.79), but the range of CRP levels varied greatly within the given severity of brain injury. Seventy-one (67.6%) patients developed sepsis. The initial levels of PCT at admission were statistically higher in patients with sepsis, compared with patients with systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), but there were no differences in the initial concentration of CRP between sepsis and SIRS. After adjusting for these parameters, multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that PCT was an independent risk factor for septic complications (pā€‰<ā€‰0.05). The areas under the ROCs at admission for the prediction of mortality were 0.76 (pā€‰<ā€‰0.05) and 0.733 for PCT and CRP, respectively.

Conclusions

Increased levels of PCT during the course of the ICU stay could be an important indicator for the early diagnosis of sepsis after neurotrauma. In addition, high serum levels of PCT in patients with neurotrauma at admission indicate an increased risk of septic complications, and the daily measurement of PCT assists in guiding antibiotic therapy in neurotrauma patients.

Keywords:
Procalcitonin; Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS); Sepsis; Mortality; Traumatic brain injury