Procalcitonin in stable and unstable patients with bronchiectasis

Chron Respir Dis. 2008;5(3):155-60. doi: 10.1177/1479972308088823.


Presently used markers of infection in bronchiectasis are inadequate to judge stability or make decisions about antibiotic treatment during bacterial exacerbations. Procalcitonin (PCT) is a new marker that has been used in community-acquired pneumonia and promises to allow much more specific and sensitive monitoring of patients with bacterial infections. This is the first study assessing its use in bronchiectasis. Thirty-eight consecutive inpatients and 63 consecutive outpatients were included in the study. All patients had PCT, other inflammatory markers, and a symptom score recorded. Inpatients had these values repeated at day 5 and 10 of their stay, while receiving intravenous antibiotics. Outpatients: PCT levels were generally low in the outpatient group. PCT was significantly correlated to C-reactive protein. Higher levels were associated with increased symptoms (P = 0.09) and an increased likelihood of antibiotic prescription (P = 0.007). Inpatients: As a group, inflammatory markers were significantly higher than in the outpatient group (P = 0.007). There was no correlation between the levels of PCT and the other inflammatory markers. PCT concentrations were generally low (as with other markers), which may reflect mucosal infection. Larger studies are needed, but PCT seems unlikely to be able to guide treatment of an exacerbation in bronchiectasis. PCT may offer more promise as a measure of stability.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Bronchiectasis / blood*
  • Calcitonin / blood*
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Protein Precursors / blood*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


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