Pneumonia Severity in Children: Utility of Procalcitonin in Risk Stratification.

Year of Publication


Date Published

2021 Feb 12

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<p><strong>OBJECTIVES: </strong>To determine if serum procalcitonin, an indicator of bacterial etiology in pneumonia in all ages and a predictor of severe pneumonia in adults, is associated with disease severity in children with community-acquired pneumonia.</p>

<p><strong>METHODS: </strong>We prospectively enrolled children 2 months to &lt;18 years with clinical and radiographic pneumonia at 2 children's hospitals (2014-2019). Procalcitonin samples were obtained at presentation. An ordinal outcome scale of pneumonia severity was defined: very severe (intubation, shock, or death), severe (intensive care admission without very severe features and/or high-flow nasal cannula), moderate (hospitalization without severe or very severe features), and mild (discharge). Hospital length of stay (LOS) was also examined. Ordinal logistic regression was used to model associations between procalcitonin and outcomes. We estimated adjusted odds ratios (aORs) for a variety of cut points of procalcitonin ranging from 0.25 to 3.5 ng/mL.</p>

<p><strong>RESULTS: </strong>The study included 488 children with pneumonia; 30 (6%) were classified as very severe, 106 (22%) as severe, 327 (67%) as moderate, and 25 (5%) as mild. Median procalcitonin in the very severe group was 5.06 (interquartile range [IQR] 0.90-16.83), 0.38 (IQR 0.11-2.11) in the severe group, 0.29 (IQR 0.09-1.90) in the moderate group, and 0.21 (IQR 0.12-1.2) in the mild group. Increasing procalcitonin was associated with increasing severity (range of aORs: 1.03-1.25) and increased LOS (range of aORs: 1.04-1.36). All comparisons were statistically significant.</p>

<p><strong>CONCLUSIONS: </strong>Higher procalcitonin was associated with increased severity and LOS. Procalcitonin may be useful in helping clinicians evaluate pneumonia severity.</p>



Alternate Title

Hosp Pediatr




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