Role of serum procalcitonin level in early diagnosis of bacterial pneumonia in children, a hospital based study

Sheikh Mohd Saleem, S. M. Salim Khan, Shah Sumaya Jan


Background: Procalcitonin (PCT) is a precursor of hormone calcitonin. It is composed of 116 amino acids and is produced by para follicular C cells of the thyroid and by neuroendocrine cells of lungs and intestine. The level of Procalcitonin in healthy individuals is below the limit of detection (0.01µg/L).These levels may rise from extra thyroid tissues especially in response to inflammatory stimulus of bacterial origin. PCT has the greatest sensitivity and Specificity for differentiating patients with sepsis from those with systemic inflammatory response syndrome. And the objective of the study is to discuss the method for early diagnosis and use of antibiotic therapy in patients of bacterial pneumonia.

Methods: A hospital based study was conducted in our hospital from January 2015 to June 2015. Eighty six children with severe pneumonia were enrolled from Department of Paediatrics and were divided into two groups according to bacteriological detection; bacterial pneumonia group consisting of 44 children patients and non-bacterial pneumonia group of 42 children patients. Meanwhile, 45 healthy children were also enrolled and grouped into normal control group. Chest X-ray and Peripheral venous blood of all children was collected to detect complete blood count, CRP and procalcitonin (PCT).

Results: Serum PCT level of patients with bacterial pneumonia was significantly higher than that in the non-bacterial pneumonia patients and normal controls ; serum PCT level of patients with bacterial pneumonia, before and after treatment had statistical significance ; Serum PCT level of patients with non-bacterial pneumonia had no statistical significance before and after treatment .

Conclusions: Serum PCT is an important biomarker for prompt diagnosis of bacterial infection and a sensitive indicator to distinguish bacterial from non-bacterial pneumonia. Evaluating serum PCT levels helps in early use of antibiotic therapy and prognosis of underlying disease.



Pneumonia, Serum procalcitonin, Infection

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