Background: The clinical utility of serum procalcitonin levels in guiding antibiotic treatment decisions in patients with sepsis remains unclear. This patient-level meta-analysis based on 11 randomized trials investigates the impact of procalcitonin-guided antibiotic therapy on mortality in intensive care unit (ICU) patients with infection, both overall and stratified according to sepsis definition, severity, and type of infection. Methods: For this meta-analysis focusing on procalcitonin-guided antibiotic management in critically ill patients with sepsis of any type, in February 2018 we updated the database of a previous individual patient data meta-analysis which was limited to patients with respiratory infections only. We used individual patient data from 11 trials that randomly assigned patients to receive antibiotics based on procalcitonin levels (the "procalcitonin-guided" group) or the current standard of care (the "controls"). The primary endpoint was mortality within 30 days. Secondary endpoints were duration of antibiotic treatment and length of stay. Results: Mortality in the 2252 procalcitonin-guided patients was significantly lower compared with the 2230 control group patients (21.1% vs 23.7%; adjusted odds ratio 0.89, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.8 to 0.99; p = 0.03). These effects on mortality persisted in a subgroup of patients meeting the sepsis 3 definition and based on the severity of sepsis (assessed on the basis of the Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score, occurrence of septic shock or renal failure, and need for vasopressor or ventilatory support) and on the type of infection (respiratory, urinary tract, abdominal, skin, or central nervous system), with interaction for each analysis being > 0.05. Procalcitonin guidance also facilitated earlier discontinuation of antibiotics, with a reduction in treatment duration (9.3 vs 10.4 days; adjusted coefficient -1.19 days, 95% CI -1.73 to -0.66; p < 0.001). Conclusion: Procalcitonin-guided antibiotic treatment in ICU patients with infection and sepsis patients results in improved survival and lower antibiotic treatment duration.
- Antibiotic stewardship