Clinical question: Can a procalcitonin (PCT)–guided strategy safely reduce antibiotic exposure in patients admitted to the ICU with severe acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with or without pneumonia?
Background: Studies have demonstrated PCT-based strategies can safely reduce antibiotic use in patients without severe lower respiratory tract infections, community-acquired pneumonia, or acute exacerbations of COPD. The data on safety of PCT-based strategies in critically ill patients is limited.
Study design: Prospective, multicenter, randomized, controlled trial.
Setting: ICUs of 11 hospitals in France, including 7 tertiary care hospitals.
Synopsis: In this study 302 patients admitted to the ICU with severe exacerbations of COPD with or without pneumonia were randomly assigned to groups with antibiotic therapy guided by a PCT protocol or standard guidelines. Overall, the study failed to demonstrate noninferiority of a PCT-based strategy to reduce exposure to antibiotics. Specifically, the adjusted difference in mortality was 6.6% higher (90% confidence interval, 0.3%-13.5%) in the intervention group with no significant reduction in antibiotic exposure.
One limitation of this study was that it was an open trial in which clinicians were aware that their management was being observed.
Bottom line: A PCT-based algorithm was not effective in safely reducing antibiotic exposure in patients with acute exacerbations of COPD admitted to the ICU.
Citation: Daubin C et al. Procalcitonin algorithm to guide initial antibiotic therapy in acute exacerbations of COPD admitted to the ICU: A randomized multicenter study. Intensive Care Med. 2018 Apr;44(4):428-37.
Dr. Agith is a hospitalist in the division of hospital medicine in the department of medicine at Loyola University Chicago, Maywood, Ill.