Rev Esp Quimioter 2024; 37(1): 29-42

Diagnostic accuracy of procalcitonin for bacteremia in the emergency department: a systematic review


Published: 7 December 2023


Introduction. Obtaining blood cultures (HC) is performed in 15% of the patients treated with suspicion of infection in the Hospital Emergency Services (ED) with a variable diagnostic yield (2-20%). The 30-day mortality of patients with bacteremia is two or three times higher than the rest with the same process. Procalcitonin (PCT) is a biomarker that has been used as a tool to help predict bacteremia in HEDs. The main objective of this systematic review is to investigate the diagnostic accuracy of PCT in predicting true bacteraemia in adult patients treated with clinical suspicion of infection in the ED, as well as to identify a specific PCT value as the most relevant from the clinical decision diagnostic point of view that can be recommended for decision making

Method. A systematic review was performed following the PRISMA guidelines in the PubMed, Web of Science, EMBASE, Lilacs, Cochrane, Epistemonikos, Tripdatabase and ClinicalTrials.gov databases from January 2010 to May 31, 2023 without language restrictions and using a combination of MESH terms: “Bacteremia/ Bacteraemia/ Blood Stream Infection”, “Procalcitonin”, “Emergencies/ Emergency/ Emergency Department” and “Adults”. Observational cohort studies and partially an systematic review were included. No meta-analysis techniques were performed, but the results were compared narratively.
Results. A total of 1,372 articles were identified, of which 20 that met the inclusion criteria were finally analyzed. The included studies represent a total of 18,120 processed HC with 2,877 bacteraemias (15.88%). Ten studies were rated as high, 9 moderate and 1 low quality. The AUC-COR of all the studies ranges from 0.68 (95% CI: 0.59-0.77) to 0.98 (95% CI: 0.97-0.99). The PCT value >0.5 ng/ml is the most widely used and proposed in up to ten of the works included in this systematic review, whose estimated mean yield is an AUC-COR of 0.833. If only the results of the 6 high-quality studies using a cut-off point (PC) >0.5 ng/mL PCT are taken into account, the estimated mean AUC-COR result is 0.89 with Se of 77.6% and It is 78%.
Conclusions. PCT has a considerable diagnostic accuracy of bacteraemia in patients treated in EDs for different infectious processes. The CP>0.5 ng/ml has been positioned as the most suitable for predicting the existence of bacteraemia and can be used to reasonably rule it out.

Rev Esp Quimioter 2024; 37(1): 29-42 [Texto completo PDF]