Procalcitonin level as an aid for the diagnosis of bacterial infections following pediatric cardiac surgery

Elhanan Nahum*, Ofer Schiller, Gilat Livni, Sarit Bitan, Shai Ashkenazi, Ovdi Dagan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The aim of the present study was to determine if blood procalcitonin can serve as an aid to differentiate between bacterial and nonbacterial cause of fever in children after cardiac surgery. Materials and Methods: A nested case-control study of children who underwent open cardiac surgery in critical care units of fourth-level pediatric hospital was performed. Blood samples for procalcitonin level were collected 1 day before operation; 1 hour postoperation; on postoperative days 1, 2, and 5; and on the day of fever, when it occurred. Results: Of 665 children who underwent cardiac bypass surgery, 126 had a febrile episode postoperatively, 47 children with a proven bacterial infection and 79 without bacterial infection. Among the 68 children in whom fever developed within the first 5 postoperative days, procalcitonin level at fever day was significantly higher in those with bacterial infection (n = 16) than in those without infection (n = 52). Similarly, among the 58 children in whom fever developed after day 5 postoperation, a significant difference was found in procalcitonin level at fever day between those with (n = 31) and without (n = 27) bacterial infection. Conclusion: During the critical early and late periods after cardiac surgery in children, procalcitonin level may help to differentiate patients with bacterial infection from patients in whom the fever is secondary to nonbacterial infectious causes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220.e11-220.e16
JournalJournal of Critical Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Bacterial infection
  • Cardiac surgery
  • Children
  • Fever
  • Procalcitonin


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