Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 53, Issue 11, pp 2960–2968 | Cite as

Role of Procalcitonin in Infectious Gastroenteritis and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

  • Kelvin Teck-Joo Thia
  • Edwin Shih-Yen Chan
  • Khoon-Lin Ling
  • Wai-Yoong Ng
  • Edward Jacob
  • Choon-Jin Ooi
Original Paper


Background and Aim We have evaluated procalcitonin (PCT) as a diagnostic marker for bacterial gastroenteritis (GE) and as a disease activity marker in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients. Methods This was a prospective single-center study performed over a 1-year period. Venous blood samples were drawn from hospitalized patients with acute GE and tested for PCT, C-reactive protein (CRP), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and total white cell count (TWC); stools from the same patients were tested for standard pathogens. Venous blood samples from patients with IBD were tested for PCT, CRP, ESR, and platelet count. The PCT level was measured using an immunofluorescent assay, with normal being defined as <0.5 ng/ml. Results The GE arm of study consisted of 81 patients, 18.5% of whom were diagnosed with bacterial GE. The PCT and CRP levels were good diagnostic markers of bacterial GE, with an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.727 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.580–0.874] and 0.786 (95% CI 0.627–0.946), respectively. An elevated PCT ≥0.5 ng/ml was associated with a 13-fold increased risk of renal impairment. The IBD arm of study consisted of 72 IBD patients. The PCT levels were not significantly different between active and inactive IBD in this patient cohort. Conclusion Our results indicate that PCT and CRP are comparably good diagnostic markers of bacterial GE but that PCT is not useful as in monitoring disease activity in patients with IBD.


Activity marker Crohn’s disease Diarrhea PCT Ulcerative Colitis 



This study was funded by the Singhealth Project-Based Research Foundation Grant. PCT kits were provided free, courtesy of Dyamed Biotech Pte Ltd. We would like to thank our Head of Department, A/P Chow Wan Cheng, for her support of this investigator-initiated clinical research. We also express our appreciation to Dr. Ang Teck-Kee and Dr. Wee Jeremy for assisting with patient recruitment.

Contribution to Paper

Study concept and design (KTT), clinical studies (KTT, WYN, EJ, CJO), data acquisition (KTT), data analysis and interpretation (KTT, LKL, CJO, ESYC), statistical analysis (ESYC), manuscript preparation (KTT), manuscript revision, editing, final approval (all authors).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kelvin Teck-Joo Thia
    • 1
  • Edwin Shih-Yen Chan
    • 2
  • Khoon-Lin Ling
    • 1
  • Wai-Yoong Ng
    • 3
  • Edward Jacob
    • 3
  • Choon-Jin Ooi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Gastroenterology and HepatologySingapore General HospitalSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Clinical Trials and Epidemiology Research Unit (CTERU)SingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Department of Pathology (Biochemistry Division)Singapore General HospitalSingaporeSingapore

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