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Procalcitonin values fail to track the presence of secondary bacterial infections in COVID-19 ICU Patients

Harte, Elsa, Kumarasamysarma, Sharuha, Phillips, Benjamin, Mackay, Olivia, Rashid, Zohra, Malikova, Natalya, Mukit, Abdullah, Ramachandran, Saraswathi, Biju, Anna, Brown, Kate, Watts, Rosie, Hodges, Charlie, Tuckwell, William, Wetherall, Nick, Breen, Henry, Price, Shannon and Szakmany, Tamas ORCID: 2023. Procalcitonin values fail to track the presence of secondary bacterial infections in COVID-19 ICU Patients. Antibiotics 12 (4) , 709. 10.3390/antibiotics12040709

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The development of secondary bacterial infections in COVID-19 patients has been associated with increased mortality and worse clinical outcomes. Consequently, many patients have received empirical antibiotic therapies with the potential to further exacerbate an ongoing antimicrobial resistance crisis. The pandemic has seen a rise in the use of procalcitonin testing to guide antimicrobial prescribing, although its value remains elusive. This single-centre retrospective study sought to analyse the efficacy of procalcitonin in identifying secondary infections in COVID-19 patients and evaluate the proportion of patients prescribed antibiotics to those with confirmed secondary infection. Inclusion criteria comprised patients admitted to the Grange University Hospital intensive care unit with SARS-CoV-2 infection throughout the second and third waves of the pandemic. Data collected included daily inflammatory biomarkers, antimicrobial prescriptions, and microbiologically proven secondary infections. There was no statistically significant difference between PCT, WBC, or CRP values in those with an infection versus those without. A total of 57.02% of patients had a confirmed secondary infection, with 80.2% prescribed antibiotics in Wave 2, compared to 44.07% with confirmed infection and 52.1% prescribed antibiotics in Wave 3. In conclusion, procalcitonin values failed to indicate the emergence of critical care-acquired infection in COVID-19 patients.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
ISSN: 20796382
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 May 2023
Date of Acceptance: 3 April 2023
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 10:13

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