Aims: To evaluate whether procalcitonin (PCT) and C reactive protein (CRP) are able to discriminate between sepsis and systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) in critically ill children.
Methods: Prospective, observational study in a paediatric intensive care unit. Kinetics of PCT and CRP were studied in patients undergoing open heart surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) (SIRS model; group I1) and patients with confirmed bacterial sepsis (group II).
Results: In group I, PCT median concentration was 0.24 ng/ml (reference value <2.0 ng/ml). There was an increment of PCT concentrations which peaked immediately after CPB (median 0.58 ng/ml), then decreased to 0.47 ng/ml at 24 h; 0.33 ng/ml at 48 h, and 0.22 ng/ml at 72 h. CRP median concentrations remained high on POD1 (36.6 mg/l) and POD2 (13.0 mg/l). In group II, PCT concentrations were high at admission (median 9.15 ng/ml) and subsequently decreased in 11/14 patients who progressed favourably (median 0.31 ng/ml). CRP levels were high in only 11/14 patients at admission. CRP remained high in 13/14 patients at 24 h; in 12/14 at 48 h; and in 10/14 patients at 72 h. Median values were 95.0, 50.9, 86.0, and 20.3 mg/l, respectively. The area under the ROC curve was 0.99 for PCT and 0.54 for CRP. Cut off concentrations to differentiate SIRS from sepsis were >2 ng/ml for PCT and >79 mg/l for CRP.
Conclusion: PCT is able to differentiate between SIRS and sepsis while CRP is not. Moreover, unlike CRP, PCT concentrations varied with the evolution of sepsis.
- CPB, cardiopulmonary bypass
- CRP, C reactive protein
- PCT, procalcitonin
- POD, post-operation day
- SIRS, systemic inflammatory response syndrome
- procalcitonin (PCT)
- C reactive protein (CRP)
- cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB)
- systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS)
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Funding: this research was supported by Brahms Diagnostica GmbH, represented by Analyse and later by Fanem laboratories, in Brazil
Published Online First 2 December 2005
Competing interests: none declared
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