The role of early procalcitonin determination in the emergency department in adults hospitalized with fever

Marcello Covino, Massimo Montalto, Rita Murri, Veronica Ojetti, Francesco Franceschi, Antonella Gallo, Giuseppe De Matteis, Benedetta Simeoni, Marcello Candelli, Maria Livia Burzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background and Objectives: Fever is one of the most common presenting complaints in the Emergency Department (ED). The role of serum procalcitonin (PCT) determination in the ED evaluation of adults presenting with fever is still debated. The aim of this study was to evaluate if, in adults presenting to the ED with fever and then hospitalized, the early PCT determination could improve prognosis. Materials and Methods. This is a retrospective, mono-centric study, conducted over a 10-year period (2009–2018). We analyzed consecutive patients ≥18 years admitted to ED with fever and then hospitalized. According to quick sequential organ failure assessment (qSOFA) at admission, we compared patients that had a PCT determination vs. controls. Primary endpoint was overall inhospital mortality; secondary endpoints were in-hospital length of stay, and mortality in patients with bloodstream infection and acute respiratory infections. Results. The sample included 12,062 patients, median age was 71 years and 55.1% were men. In patients with qSOFA ≥ 2 overall mortality was significantly lower if they had a PCT-guided management in ED, (20.5% vs. 26.5%; p = 0.046). In the qSOFA > 2 group the mortality was not significantly different in PCT patients, except for those with a final diagnosis of bloodstream infection. Conclusions. Among adults hospitalized with fever, the PCT evaluation at ED admission was not associated with better outcomes, with the possible exception of patients affected by bloodstream infections. However, in febrile patients presenting to the ED with qSOFA ≥ 2, the early PCT evaluation could improve the overall in-hospital survival.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Emergency department
  • Fever
  • Procalcitonin
  • Sepsis


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