Procalcitonin Useful for Diagnosing Infectious Causes of Dyspnea

Procalcitonin rules out pneumonia in patients with dyspnea in the emergency department

Clinical Question:
Is procalcitonin testing useful for patients with dyspnea who present for emergency care?

Bottom Line:
In patients with dyspnea who present to an emergency department with a typical
likelihood of pneumonia (13%), a negative procalcitonin result (< 0.1 ng/mL) will correctly rule out pneumonia 96% of the time. However, pneumonia is present in only approximately 40% of patients with positive results. Adding procalcitonin to the initial work-up of suitable patients with dyspnea may decrease the number of patients with heart failure who are treated with antibiotics. (LOE = 3b)

Alba GA, Truong QA, Gaggin HK, et al, for the Global Research on Acute Conditions (GREAT) Network. Diagnostic and prognostic utility of procalcitonin in patients
presenting to the emergency department with dyspnea. Am J Med 2016;129(1):96-104.


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