Classical markers of infection cannot differentiate reliably between inflammation and infection after neurosurgery. This study investigated the dynamics of serum procalcitonin (PCT) in patients who had elective spine surgeries without complications.
Participants were 103 patients (47 women, 56 men) who underwent elective spinal surgery. Clinical variables relevant to the study included age, sex, medical history, body mass index (BMI), site and type of surgery, and surgery duration. Clinical and laboratory data were body temperature, white blood cell count (WBC), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP) and PCT, all measured preoperatively and postoperatively on days 1, 3, and 5.
PCT concentrations remained at <0.25 ng/mL during the postoperative course except in 2 patients. PCT concentrations did not correlate with age, sex, DM, hypertension, BMI, operation time, operation site, or use of instrumentation. In contrast, CRP concentrations were significantly higher with older age, male, DM, hypertension, longer operation time, cervical operation, and use of instrumentation.
PCT may be useful in the diagnosing neurosurgical patients with postoperative fever of unknown origin.