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Anaesthesist. 2008 Jun;57(6):571-7. doi: 10.1007/s00101-008-1379-x.

[Antibiotic treatment of surgical intensive care patients: procalcitonin to guide duration of therapy].

[Article in German]

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Klinik für Anästhesie und Intensivmedizin, Westküstenklinikum Heide, Esmarchstr 50, 25746 Heide, Deutschland.


The development of resistance by infective bacterial species is an incentive to reconsider the indications and administration of available antibiotics. Correct recognition of the indications and duration of therapy are particularly important for the use of highly potent substances in the intensive care situation. There has as yet been no clinical chemical parameter which is capable of specifically distinguishing a bacterial infection from a viral or non-infectious inflammatory reaction, but it now appears that procalcitonin (PCT) offers this possibility. The present study was intended to clarify whether PCT can be used to guide antibiotic therapy in surgical intensive care patients. A total of 110 patients in a surgical intensive care ward receiving antibiotic therapy after confirmed infection or a high grade suspicion of infection were enrolled in this study. In 57 of these patients a new decision was reached each day as to whether the antibiotic therapy should be continued after daily PCT determination and clinical assessment. The control group consisted of 53 patients with a standardized duration of antibiotic therapy over 8 days. Demographic and clinical data were comparable in both groups. However, in the PCT group the duration of antibiotic therapy was significantly shorter compared to controls (5.9+/-1.7 vs. 7.9+/-0.5 days, p<0.001) without unfavorable effects on clinical outcome.

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