BMC Infect Dis. 2022 Apr 15;22(1):378. doi: 10.1186/s12879-022-07362-x.
BACKGROUND: Serum procalcitonin (PCT) has become an emerging prognostic biomarker of disease progression in patients with COVID-19. This study aims to determine the optimal cut-off value of PCT with regards to important clinical outcomes, especially for mechanical ventilation and all-cause mortality among moderate to severe COVID-19 patients in Malaysia.
METHODS: A total of 319 moderate to severe COVID-19 patients hospitalized at the National Referral Hospital in December 2020 were included in the study retrospectively. Demographics, comorbidities, the severity of COVID-19 infection, laboratory and imaging findings, and treatment given were collected from the hospital information system for analysis. The optimal cut-point values for PCT were estimated in two levels. The first level involved 276 patients who had their PCT measured within 5 days following their admission. The second level involved 237 patients who had their PCT measured within 3 days following their admission. Further, a propensity score matching analysis was performed to determine the adjusted relative risk of patients with regards to various clinical outcomes according to the selected cut-point among 237 patients who had their PCT measured within 3 days.
RESULTS: The results showed that a PCT level of 0.2 ng/mL was the optimal cut-point for prognosis especially for mortality outcome and the need for mechanical ventilation. Before matching, patients with PCT ≥ 0.2 ng/mL were associated with significantly higher odds in all investigated outcomes. After matching, patients with PCT > 0.2 ng/mL were associated with higher odds in all-cause mortality (OR: 4.629, 95% CI 1.387-15.449, p = 0.0127) and non-invasive ventilation (OR: 2.667, 95% CI 1.039-6.847, p = 0.0415). Furthermore, patients with higher PCT were associated with significantly longer days of mechanical ventilation (p = 0.0213). There was however no association between higher PCT level and the need for mechanical ventilation (OR: 2.010, 95% CI 0.828-4.878, p = 0.1229).
CONCLUSION: Our study indicates that a rise in PCT above 0.2 ng/mL is associated with an elevated risk in all-cause mortality, the need for non-invasive ventilation, and a longer duration of mechanical ventilation. The study offers concrete evidence for PCT to be used as a prognostication marker among moderate to severe COVID-19 patients.