Can procalcitonin tests aid in identifying bacterial infections associated with influenza pneumonia? A systematic review and meta-analysis
Article first published online: 6 JUN 2012
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses
Volume 7, Issue 3, pages 349–355, May 2013
How to Cite
Wu, M.-H., Lin, C.-C., Huang, S.-L., Shih, H.-M., Wang, C.-C., Lee, C.-C. and Wu, J.-Y. (2013), Can procalcitonin tests aid in identifying bacterial infections associated with influenza pneumonia? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses, 7: 349–355. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-2659.2012.00386.x
- Issue published online: 17 APR 2013
- Article first published online: 6 JUN 2012
- Accepted 17 April 2012. Published Online 6 June 2012.
- Bacterial pneumonia;
Objective To summarize evidence for the diagnostic accuracy of procalcitonin (PCT) tests for identifying secondary bacterial infections in patients with influenza.
Methods Major databases, including MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library, were searched for studies published between January 1966 and May 2009 that evaluated PCT as a marker for diagnosing bacterial infections in patients with influenza infections and that provided sufficient data to construct two-by-two tables.
Results Six studies were selected that included 137 cases with bacterial coinfection and 381 cases without coinfection. The area under a summary ROC curve was 0·68 (95% CI: 0·64–0·72). The overall sensitivity and specificity estimates for PCT tests were 0·84 (95% CI: 0·75–0·90) and 0·64 (95% CI: 0·58–0·69), respectively. These studies reported heterogeneous sensitivity estimates ranging from 0·74 to 1·0. The positive likelihood ratio for PCT (LR+ = 2·31; 95% CI: 1·93–2·78) was not sufficiently high for its use as a rule-in diagnostic tool, while its negative likelihood ratio was reasonably low for its use as a rule-out diagnostic tool (LR− = 0·26; 95% CI: 0·17–0·40).
Conclusions Procalcitonin tests have a high sensitivity, particularly for ICU patients, but a low specificity for identifying secondary bacterial infections among patients with influenza. Because of its suboptimal positive likelihood ratio and good negative likelihood ratio, it can be used as a suitable rule-out test but cannot be used as a standalone rule-in test.