Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Burns. 1998 Dec;24(8):745-50.

Procalcitonin--a sepsis parameter in severe burn injuries.

Author information

Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University Hospital of the RWTH Aachen, Germany.


Procalcitonin (PCT) levels increase in patients with systemic infections; the highest levels have been found in sepsis. This study tested whether plasma procalcitonin level was related to sepsis, CRP, burn size, inhalation injury or mortality in severely burned patients over the entire clinical course. In 27 patients with 51 (20-91)% TBSA, PCT was measured three times weekly from admission over the entire course of stay in a single ICU. Daily scoring by the "Baltimore Sepsis Scale" was performed. The patients were assigned to three groups depending on the clinical course and outcome: A = no septic complications, B = septic complications-survivors, C = septic complications non-survivors. PCT levels were elevated slightly at admission (mean 2.1 ng/ml) except in three patients who suffered electrical burns (mean 15.7 ng/ml). PCT peak levels correlated well with the Scoring values (r = 0.84) while CRP did not (r = 0.64). Peak PCT levels were significantly higher (p < 0.005) in septic patients (B and C) who averaged 49.8+/-76.9 ng/ml, than in non-septic patients (A) who averaged peak levels of 2.3+/-3.7 ng/ml. The highest PCT levels were found immediately before death (86.8+/-97 ng/ml). Seven patients had an inhalation injury 3rd degree. In these patients at 24 h postburn, there was no relationship between PCT levels and inhalation injury but during the later days postburn there were significant differences in PCT levels in patients with versus without inhalation injury. All patients with inhalation injury 3rd degree developed septic complications. There was no positive correlation between the PCT-admission-levels and the TBSA, but there was a positive correlation between the TBSA and the mean peak PCT levels during the later days postburn (r = 0.73; p < 0.05). The cut-off value of 3 ng/ ml we found reliable to indicate severe bacterial or fungal infection. PCT values over 10 ng/ml increasing over the following days were found only in life-threatening situations due to systemic infections. The individual course of PCT in one patient is more important than absolute values. PCT presented in this study as a useful diagnostic parameter in severely burned patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center