The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) defines community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) as “an
acute infection of the pulmonary parenchyma, i.e., associated with at least some symptoms of acute infection, accompanied by the presence of an acute infiltrate on chest radiograph or auscultatory findings consistent with pneumonia (such as altered breath sounds and or localized rales), in a patient not hospitalized or residing in a long-term care facility for more than 14 days before onset of symptoms.”
A rapid diagnosis of pneumonia and an accurate differentiation from viral respiratory illnesses and noninfectious causes have important therapeutic and prognostic implications. In the current prospective observational study, we intended to study the utility of procalcitonin (PCT) level in comparison with C-reactive protein (CRP) in the diagnosis and prognosis of pneumonia. Procalcitonin in Community-acquired Pneumonia In patients with CAP, improved diagnostic assessment by PCT is important in order to differentiate from other noninfectious infiltrates and to guide the duration of antibiotics.
The dynamics of PCT levels have prognostic implications, as persistently elevated levels are associated with adverse outcome. Conversely, decreasing PCT levels suggest a favorable outcome, usually showing a log-linear drop-off and a half-life of 20 to 24 hours. The prognostic accuracy of PCT in the ICU can be markedly improved by considering the course of PCT. Mortality increased with every day that PCT increased.
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