The cost impact of PCT-guided antibiotic stewardship versus usual care for hospitalised patients with suspected sepsis or lower respiratory tract infections in the US: A health economic model analysis

PLoS One. 2019 Apr 23;14(4):e0214222. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0214222. eCollection 2019.


Background: Procalcitonin is a biomarker that supports clinical decision-making on when to initiate and discontinue antibiotic therapy. Several cost (-effectiveness) analyses have been conducted on Procalcitonin-guided antibiotic stewardship, but none mainly based on US originated data.

Objective: To compare effectiveness and costs of a Procalcitonin-algorithm versus standard care to guide antibiotic prescription for patients hospitalized with a diagnosis of suspected sepsis or lower respiratory tract infection in the US.

Methods: A previously published health economic decision model was used to compare the costs and effects of Procalcitonin-guided care. The analysis considered the societal and hospital perspective with a time horizon covering the length of hospital stay. The main outcomes were total costs per patient, including treatment costs and productivity losses, the number of patients with antibiotic resistance or C.difficile infections, and costs per antibiotic day avoided.

Results: Procalcitonin -guided care for hospitalized patients with suspected sepsis and lower respiratory tract infection is associated with a reduction in antibiotic days, a shorter length of stay on the regular ward and the intensive care unit, shorter duration of mechanical ventilation, and fewer patients at risk for antibiotic resistant or C.difficile infection. Total costs in the Procalcitonin-group compared to standard care were reduced by 26.0% in sepsis and 17.7% in lower respiratory tract infection (total incremental costs of -$11,311 per patient and -$2,867 per patient respectively).

Conclusions: Using a Procalcitonin-algorithm to guide antibiotic use in sepsis and hospitalised lower respiratory tract infection patients is expected to generate cost-savings to the hospital and lower rates of antibiotic resistance and C.difficile infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antimicrobial Stewardship / economics*
  • Calcitonin / metabolism*
  • Costs and Cost Analysis*
  • Economics, Medical*
  • Hospitalization / economics*
  • Humans
  • Models, Economic*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / drug therapy*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / economics
  • Sepsis / drug therapy*
  • Sepsis / economics
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States


  • Calcitonin