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Procalcitonin - a specific marker for the diagnosis of infection and guide to antibiotic decisions

Nesrin Aptula, Fani Mladenova, Stela Yordanova, Emiliya Georgieva


There are a number of limitations to using conventional diagnostic markers for patients with clinical suspicion of infection. As a consequence, unnecessary and prolonged exposure to antimicrobial agents adversely affects patient outcomes, while inappropriate antibiotic therapy increases antibiotic resistance. Laboratory studies support the use of this type of diagnostic test. Controlled trials have shown a benefit of using procalcitonin (PCT) algorithms to guide decisions about initiation and/or discontinuation of antibiotic therapy. For some other types of infections, observational studies have shown promising first results, but further intervention studies are needed before the routine use of PCT in clinical practice can be recommended. The aim of this review is to summarize the current evidence for PCT in different infections and clinical settings, and discuss the reliability of this marker when used with validated diagnostic algorithms.


infection; procalcitonin; antibiotic decisions

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