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A Journal on Surgery

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Minerva Chirurgica 2002 February;57(1):59-62

language: English

Procalcitonin as an early marker of postoperative infectious complications

Di Filippo A., Lombardi A., Ognibene A., Messeri G., Tonelli F.


Background. Procalcitonin (PCT) is a new marker for severe infection that is supposed to have a useful role in the early detection of bacterial infection in the perioperative period. Aim of the study: to test the hypothesis that PCT is useful as an early marker of postoperative infectious complications.
Methods. Thirty-three patients were submitted to major abdominal interventions that comprehend an intestinal resection (mean age: 49.9±19.3 years; 19 males, 14 females). PCT was tested at 4 times: T1 = preoperative; T2= 6 hours after starting interventions; T3 = 24 hours after; T4 = 48 hours after. Statistical: ''t''-Student test and Pearson correlation.
Results. In the postoperative course 11 patients had infectious complications that were: 3 wound infections, 2 positive haemocolture, 1 pneumonia, 3 deep abdominal infections, 2 anastomotic dehiscences. In these patients only the 24 hours PCT assay at T3 was higher than in the other patients that had not complications (µg/ml 4.74±3.8 vs 1.22±0.8; p<0.0001). The cut off value of 1 ng/ml has a sensibility of 70% and a specificity of 81%.
Conclusions. PCT detection appear to be an important aid for early diagnosis of postoperative infectious complications when it is used with the other indexes.

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