HealthDay News — For patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), procalcitonin (PCT) testing on the first day of admission is associated with significantly lower length stay in the hospital and ICU, according to a study published in the January issue of CHEST.

Robert A. Balk, MD, from Rush Medical College in Chicago, and colleagues conducted a retrospective, propensity score-matched multivariable analysis on patients from the Premier Healthcare Database to examine the impact of one to two PCT determinations on ICU day one on health care utilization and cost. Data were included for 33,569 PCT-managed patients and 98,543 propensity score-matched non-PCT patients. 

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The researchers found that PCT utilization correlated with a significantly reduced total length of stay (11.6 versus 12.7 days; P<0.001) and ICU length of stay (5.1 versus 5.3 days; P<0.03), as well as reduced hospital costs ($30,454 versus $33,213; P<0.001). In multivariable regression analysis, PCT-managed patients had significantly less total antibiotic exposure (16.2 versus 16.9 days; P=0.006). Discharge to home was more likely for patients in the PCT group (44.1 versus 41.3%; P=0.006). Mortality did not differ in an analysis including the 96% of patients with an independent measure of mortality risk (19.1 versus 19.1%; P=0.93).

“Use of PCT testing on the first day of ICU admission was associated with significantly lower hospital and ICU lengths of stay, as well as decreased total, ICU, and pharmacy cost of care,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including bioMérieux USA, which funded the study.

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