Pearls from 7/13/21 LEADS

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

The July 13, 2021 session of Duke Medicine LEADS featured a discussion led by Geargin Wilson, MD, "ANTI vs. PROcalcitonin: A discussion on the utility of Procalcitonin."

Panelist included, Stephen Bergin, MD, and Ephraim Tsalik, MD, PhD, who weighed in for the diagnostic reasoning discussion.

Here are pearls and takeaways from the session:

  1. Procalcitonin is a peptide marker secreted by tissues reacting to an infection. As it is not secreted my immune cells, levels are not appreciably impacted by immunocompromising conditions.
  2. Early studies of procalcitonin focused on its ability to differentiate bacterial and non-bacterial infections. It is now better appreciated that procalcitonin is also elevated in severe viral infections and may therefore be a marker of severity of infection.
  3. Procalcitonin test performance is only validated in respiratory tract infections. Ordering a procalcitonin may be helpful when providers are uncertain about initiating antibiotics but should not delay antibiotic therapy, especially in sepsis.
  4. Trending levels of procalcitonin can be used to monitor response to therapy in patients with infection. Procalcitonin guided decisions for antibiotic cessation have been associated with a shorter duration of antibiotic use.​

Watch the recorded session

Duke Medicine Learning, Education, and Discussion Series (LEADS) takes place each Tuesday at 12 p.m. Learn more and see schedule of upcoming sessions.