Comparison of WBC, ESR, CRP and PCT serum levels in septic and non-septic burn cases

Burns. 2008 Sep;34(6):770-4. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2008.01.014. Epub 2008 May 29.


Diagnosis of sepsis is difficult, particularly in cases of burn where signs of sepsis may be present in the absence of a real infection. This study compared serum levels of procalcitonin (PCT), C-reactive protein (CRP), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and white blood cell (WBC) among 60 burned people with and without infection, in order to assess the value of the information for diagnosis of sepsis. A significantly higher PCT level was observed in the septic group compared to those without sepsis (8.45+/-7.8 vs. 0.5+/-1.0, respectively, p<0.001); no significant differences were found in CRP or WBC levels, neutrophil count or ESR. The area under the receiver operating characteristics curve in the diagnosis of sepsis was 0.97 for PCT (p<0.001) with sensitivity of 100% and specificity of 89.3%. Non-survivors had a mean PCT level significantly higher than that of survivors. Thus the serum PCT level was a highly efficient laboratory parameter for the diagnosis of severe infectious complications after burn, but WBC, neutrophil, ESR and CRP levels were of little value.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Sedimentation
  • Body Temperature / physiology
  • Burns / blood
  • Burns / complications*
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Calcitonin / blood
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Protein Precursors / blood
  • ROC Curve
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sepsis / blood
  • Sepsis / diagnosis*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / blood
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / diagnosis*


  • Biomarkers
  • CALCA protein, human
  • Protein Precursors
  • Calcitonin
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide