Procalcitonin levels in gram-positive, gram-negative, and fungal bloodstream infections

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Procalcitonin (PCT) can discriminate bacterial from viral systemic infections and true bacteremia from contaminated blood cultures. The aim of this study was to evaluate PCT diagnostic accuracy in discriminating Gram-positive, Gram-negative, and fungal bloodstream infections. A total of 1,949 samples from patients with suspected bloodstream infections were included in the study. Median PCT value in Gram-negative (13.8 ng/mL, interquartile range (IQR) 3.4-44.1) bacteremias was significantly higher than in Gram-positive (2.1 ng/mL, IQR 0.6-7.6) or fungal (0.5 ng/mL, IQR 0.4-1) infections (P < 0.0001). Receiver operating characteristic analysis showed an area under the curve (AUC) for PCT of 0.765 (95% CI 0.725-0.805, P < 0.0001) in discriminating Gram-negatives from Gram-positives at the best cut-off value of 10.8 ng/mL and an AUC of 0.944 (95% CI 0.919-0.969, P < 0.0001) in discriminating Gram-negatives from fungi at the best cut-off of 1.6 ng/mL. Additional results showed a significant difference in median PCT values between Enterobacteriaceae and nonfermentative Gram-negative bacteria (17.1 ng/mL, IQR 5.9-48.5 versus 3.5 ng/mL, IQR 0.8-21.5; P < 0.0001). This study suggests that PCT may be of value to distinguish Gram-negative from Gram-positive and fungal bloodstream infections. Nevertheless, its utility to predict different microorganisms needs to be assessed in further studies.




Leli, C., Ferranti, M., Moretti, A., Al Dhahab, Z. S., Cenci, E., & Mencacci, A. (2015). Procalcitonin levels in gram-positive, gram-negative, and fungal bloodstream infections. Disease Markers, 2015.

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