Internal and Emergency Medicine

, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 629–635 | Cite as

Usefulness of procalcitonin in differentiating Candida and bacterial blood stream infections in critically ill septic patients outside the intensive care unit

  • Filippo PieralliEmail author
  • Lorenzo Corbo
  • Arianna Torrigiani
  • Dario Mannini
  • Elisa Antonielli
  • Antonio Mancini
  • Francesco Corradi
  • Fabio Arena
  • Alberto Moggi Pignone
  • Alessandro Morettini
  • Carlo Nozzoli
  • Gian Maria Rossolini


We aimed to explore the role of procalcitonin (PCT) for the diagnosis of Candida spp. bloodstream infections in a population of critically ill septic patients admitted to internal medicine units. This is a retrospective case–control study considering all cases of candidemia identified in three internal medicine units, from January 1st 2012 to May 31st 2016. For each case of candidemia, two patients with bacteremic sepsis were included in the study as control cases. The end point of the study was to evaluate the diagnostic performance of PCT for the diagnosis of Candida spp. blood stream infections in patients with objectively documented sepsis. Sixty-four patients with candidemia and 128 controls with bacteremia were enrolled. Median and interquartile range (IQR) PCT values are significantly lower in patients with candidemia (0.73; IQR 0.26–1.85 ng/mL) than in those with bacteremia (4.48; IQR 1.10–18.26 ng/mL). At ROC curve analysis, values of PCT greater than 2.5 ng/mL had a negative predictive value (NPV) of 98.3% with an AUC of 0.76 (0.68–0.84 95% CI) for the identification of Candida spp. from blood cultures. At multivariate analysis, a PCT value <2.5 ng/mL showed an odds ratio of 8.57 (95% CI 3.09–23.70; p < 0.0001) for candidemia. In septic patients at risk of Candida infection, a PCT value lower than 2.5 ng/mL should raise the suspicion of candidemia, adding value for considering prompt initiation of antifungal therapy.


Procalcitonin Sepsis Candida Critical illness 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Statement of human and animal rights

The study was performed in agreement with the principles set in the Declaration of Helsinki on human research ethics.

Informed consent

Informed consent was not needed in accordance to current regulatory laws on retrospective observational studies in our country. Local ethics committee approval was obtained (SepsiMed Study protocol number 0018329).


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Copyright information

© SIMI 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Filippo Pieralli
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lorenzo Corbo
    • 1
  • Arianna Torrigiani
    • 2
  • Dario Mannini
    • 2
  • Elisa Antonielli
    • 1
  • Antonio Mancini
    • 1
  • Francesco Corradi
    • 2
  • Fabio Arena
    • 3
  • Alberto Moggi Pignone
    • 4
  • Alessandro Morettini
    • 2
  • Carlo Nozzoli
    • 1
  • Gian Maria Rossolini
    • 3
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Internal Medicine Unit 1, Careggi University HospitalAzienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria CareggiFlorenceItaly
  2. 2.Internal Medicine Unit 2Careggi University HospitalFlorenceItaly
  3. 3.Department of Medical BiotechnologiesUniversity of SienaSienaItaly
  4. 4.Internal Medicine Unit 3Careggi University HospitalFlorenceItaly
  5. 5.Department of Experimental and Clinical MedicineUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  6. 6.Clinical Microbiology and Virology UnitCareggi University HospitalFlorenceItaly
  7. 7.Don Carlo Gnocchi FoundationFlorenceItaly

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