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Kyubok Jin 1 Article
A study of the effectiveness of using the serum procalcitonin level as a predictive test for bacteremia in acute pyelonephritis
Ga Hee Lee, Yoo Jin Lee, Yang Wook Kim, Sihyung Park, Jinhan Park, Kang Min Park, Kyubok Jin, Bong Soo Park
Kosin Med J. 2018;33(3):337-346.   Published online December 31, 2018
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Abstract PDFPubReader   

Serum procalcitonin (PCT) is a specific biomarker that rises after bacterial infection, and levels of PCT are known to correlate with the severity and mortality of patients with pneumonia and sepsis. However, the usefulness of PCT levels in acute pyelonephritis is unknown. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of using the PCT level as a predictive test for bacteremia in acute pyelonephritis.


Between January 2012 and June 2013, 140 patients diagnosed with acute pyelonephritis were admitted to Haeundae Paik Hospital. Serum PCT, C-reactive protein (CRP), and white blood cell (WBC) levels at pre- and post- treatment were measured. Blood and urine cultures were obtained from all patients. The levels of PCT, CRP, and WBCs were each compared between the blood culture-positive and blood culture-negative groups to assess their effectiveness in predicting bacteremia.


Pre-treatment PCT level was 0.77 ng/mL (95% CI: 0.42–1.60 ng/mL) in the blood culture-negative group and 4.89 ng/mL (95% CI: 2.88–9.04 ng/mL) in the blood culture-positive group, and the increase between the two groups was statistically significant. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of PCT level for prediction of bacteremia was 0.728. A cut-off value of 1.23 ng/mL indicated a sensitivity of 79.0 % and specificity of 60.0 % for PCT level.


Serum PCT level is a useful predictive test for bacteremia in acute pyelonephritis. Through the early detection of bacteremia, serum PCT level can help estimate the prognosis and predict complications such as sepsis.

KMJ : Kosin Medical Journal