What is the role of serum procalcitonin (PCT) testing in the diagnosis of meningitis?

Updated: Jul 16, 2019
  • Author: Rodrigo Hasbun, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Increasing data suggest that serum procalcitonin (PCT) levels can be used as a guide to distinguish between bacterial and aseptic meningitis in children. Elevated serum PCT levels predict bacterial meningitis. The results of serum PCT testing, combined with other findings, could be helpful in making clinical decisions. [26]

In an analysis of retrospective, multicenter, hospital-based cohort studies, Dubos et al confirmed that measurement of the PCT level is the best biologic marker for differentiating bacterial meningitis from aseptic meningitis in children in the emergency department (ED). With a threshold of 0.5 ng/mL, the sensitivity and specificity of the PCT level in distinguishing between bacterial and aseptic meningitis were 99% and 83%, respectively. [26]

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