ProCommunity: procalcitonin use in real-world US community hospital settings

Current Medical Research and Opinion, 2020


Procalcitonin (PCT) is a biomarker that may help providers optimize antibiotic (AB) therapy. Numerous clinical trials have demonstrated the utility of PCT-guided decision algorithms in treating lower respiratory tract infections and sepsis, but evidence from real-world studies is limited. This study sought to evaluate the effects of PCT on select clinical outcomes in community hospitals.


An observational, retrospective, case-control study was conducted. Hospitals from a large US hospital system were categorized into "treatment" and "control" hospitals. Treatment hospitals were those with in-house PCT testing, a pharmacy team tasked with PCT testing follow-up and results in the patient's electronic medical records alongside a recommendation on AB treatment. Control hospitals either did not have PCT testing available in house or sent out tests to a laboratory or neighboring facility. Patients from treatment hospitals were matched 1:1 to patients from control hospitals based on admission diagnosis code, sex, age and whether an intensive care unit admission was observed. Clinical outcomes included number of days of AB treatment, length of stay, 30 day readmissions, mortality and acute kidney injury. Comparisons were conducted using multivariable regressions accounting for clustering at the hospital level.


Patients from treatment hospitals had significantly shorter hospital stays (-0.68 days, 95% CI: -1.26, -0.09; p = .02). A reduction in days of AB treatment (-1.50 days, 95% CI: -3.27, 0.27; p = .10) was observed, but did not reach statistical significance.


These findings suggest that PCT, along with specific treatment recommendations, may lead to shortened hospital stays with no adverse outcome on patient safety.

View abstract


DeSear KE, Thompson-Leduc P, Kirson N, Chritton JJ, Ie S, Van Schooneveld TC, Cheung HC, Ou S, Schuetz P