Expert Rev Respir Med. 2023 Aug 28:1-11. doi: 10.1080/17476348.2023.2251394. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION: Lower respiratory tract infections are amongst the main causes for hospital/intensive care unit admissions and antimicrobial prescriptions. In order to reduce antimicrobial pressure, antibiotic administration could be optimized through procalcitonin-based algorithms.
AREAS COVERED: In this review, we discuss the performances of procalcitonin for the diagnosis and the management of community-acquired and ventilator-associated pneumonia. We provide up-to-date evidence and deliver clear messages regarding the purpose of procalcitonin to reduce unnecessary antimicrobial exposure.
EXPERT OPINION: Antimicrobial pressure and resulting antimicrobial resistances are a major public health issue as well as a daily struggle in the management of patients with severe infectious diseases, especially in intensive care units where antibiotic exposure is high. Procalcitonin-guided antibiotic administration has proven its efficacy in reducing unnecessary antibiotic use in lower respiratory tract infections without excess in mortality, hospital length of stay or disease relapse. Procalcitonin-guided algorithms should be implemented in wards taking care of patients with severe infections. However, procalcitonin performances are different regarding the setting of the infection (community versus hospital-acquired infections) the antibiotic management (start or termination of antibiotic) as well as patient's condition (immunosuppressed or in shock) and we encourage the physicians to be aware of these limitations.