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Procalcitonin as a marker of bacterial sepsis in immunocompromised patients


Procalcitonin (PCT) is a recently described marker of severe sepsis. It was decided to assess the value of PCT as a marker of secondary infection in patients infected with HIV in Georgian AIDS Center.

Materials and methods

PCT plasma levels were measured by quantitative assay BRAHMS-Biomérieux using the VIDAS analyser in a prospective study in 135 HIV-infected individuals: 87 asymptomatic and 48 with lever or suspected secondary infections.


The baseline plasma level of PCT was (0.5 ng/ml +/- 0.5), even in the latest stages of the disease, and did not differ from the values of healthy subjects (0.54 ng/ml +/- 0.1). EDTA-treated whole blood was collected from patients before starting specific antimicrobial therapy. No elevation of PCT level was detected in HIV-infected patients with evolving secondary infections including PCP (n = 4), cerebral toxoplasmosis (n = 5), viral infections (n = 9), mycobacterial infections (n = 4), localized bacterial (n = 13) and fungal infections (n = 4), and in various associated infectious and non-infectious febrile events (n = 15). All these plasma values were lower than 2 ng/ml. In contrast, high PCT plasma levels were detected in one HIV-infected patient with a septicaemic influenza infection (17 ng/ml) and another one with a septicaemic Pneudomonas aeruginosa infection (46 ng/ ml), PCT values decreased rapidly under appropriate therapy.


We found that PCT is a specific marker of bacterial sepsis in HIV-infected patients, as no increase in other secondary infections could be detected in those patients. A rapid determination of PCT level could be useful to verify or refute bacterial sepsis for a better management of febrile HIV-infected patients.

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Correspondence to Lana Gatserelia.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Gatserelia, L., Sharvadze, L., Karchava, M. et al. Procalcitonin as a marker of bacterial sepsis in immunocompromised patients. Retrovirology 9 (Suppl 1), P90 (2012).

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