Elevated serum procalcitonin levels and their association with the prognosis of patients with liver cirrhosis.

Research paper by Sho S Sato, Shunsuke S Sato, Hironori H Tsuzura, Yuji Y Ikeda, Sho S Hayashida, Sho S Takahashi, Nozomi N Amano, Ayato A Murata, Yuji Y Shimada, Katuyori K Iijima, Akihito A Nagahara, Takuya T Genda

Indexed on: 20 Dec '19Published on: 19 Dec '19Published in: European journal of gastroenterology & hepatology


Bacterial infection is a major complication in patients with liver cirrhosis. Procalcitonin is an early diagnostic marker of bacterial infection. This study aimed to investigate the association between the serum procalcitonin levels and the prognosis of patients with liver cirrhosis. We retrospectively analyzed the serum procalcitonin levels in 236 hospitalized patients with liver cirrhosis. The impact of the serum procalcitonin level on their prognoses was evaluated using multivariate Cox proportional hazards analyses and the Kaplan-Meier method. The serum procalcitonin level was higher (≥0.05 ng/mL) in 151 (64%) patients, and it was significantly higher in the patients with Child-Turcotte-Pugh class C than in those with Child-Turcotte-Pugh classes A/B. Patients with refractory ascites, hepatic encephalopathy, gastrointestinal bleeding, and bacterial infections had elevated serum procalcitonin levels. The multivariate analyses showed a serum procalcitonin level ≥0.05 ng/mL was an independent prognostic factor for liver cirrhosis (hazard ratio = 1.64; 95% confidence interval = 1.07-2.53; P = 0.024). During a median follow-up interval of 2.1 years, the three-year cumulative survival rates for the patients with normal and elevated serum procalcitonin levels were 72.9 and 56.0%, respectively (P < 0.001). The subgroup analyses that stratified the patients according to age, the Child-Turcotte-Pugh classification, and the presence of liver cancer showed the serum procalcitonin level was significantly associated with their prognoses. The patients with liver cirrhosis had higher serum procalcitonin levels, regardless of local bacterial infections, and higher procalcitonin levels were associated with poor prognoses.