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1.  Diagnostic accuracy of procalcitonin in critically ill immunocompromised patients 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2011;11:224.
Background
Recognizing infection is crucial in immunocompromised patients with organ dysfunction. Our objective was to assess the diagnostic accuracy of procalcitonin (PCT) in critically ill immunocompromised patients.
Methods
This prospective, observational study included patients with suspected sepsis. Patients were classified into one of three diagnostic groups: no infection, bacterial sepsis, and nonbacterial sepsis.
Results
We included 119 patients with a median age of 54 years (interquartile range [IQR], 42-68 years). The general severity (SAPSII) and organ dysfunction (LOD) scores on day 1 were 45 (35-62.7) and 4 (2-6), respectively, and overall hospital mortality was 32.8%. Causes of immunodepression were hematological disorders (64 patients, 53.8%), HIV infection (31 patients, 26%), and solid cancers (26 patients, 21.8%). Bacterial sepsis was diagnosed in 58 patients and nonbacterial infections in nine patients (7.6%); 52 patients (43.7%) had no infection. PCT concentrations on the first ICU day were higher in the group with bacterial sepsis (4.42 [1.60-22.14] vs. 0.26 [0.09-1.26] ng/ml in patients without bacterial infection, P < 0.0001). PCT concentrations on day 1 that were > 0.5 ng/ml had 100% sensitivity but only 63% specificity for diagnosing bacterial sepsis. The area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was 0.851 (0.78-0.92). In multivariate analyses, PCT concentrations > 0.5 ng/ml on day 1 independently predicted bacterial sepsis (odds ratio, 8.6; 95% confidence interval, 2.53-29.3; P = 0.0006). PCT concentrations were not significantly correlated with hospital mortality.
Conclusion
Despite limited specificity in critically ill immunocompromised patients, PCT concentrations may help to rule out bacterial infection.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-11-224
PMCID: PMC3170614  PMID: 21864380
bacterial infection; neutropenia; HIV infection; immune deficiency; bone marrow transplantation; Sensitivity and Specificity.
2.  Performance of N-terminal-pro-B-type natriuretic peptide in critically ill patients: a prospective observational cohort study 
Critical Care  2008;12(6):R137.
Introduction
The purpose of this study was to assess the accuracy of N-terminal-pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) as a diagnostic tool to recognize acute respiratory failure of cardiac origin in an unselected cohort of critically ill patients.
Methods
We conducted a prospective observational study of medical ICU patients. NT-proBNP was measured at ICU admission, and diagnosis of cardiac dysfunction relied on the patient's clinical presentation and echocardiography.
Results
Of the 198 patients included in this study, 102 (51.5%) had evidence of cardiac dysfunction. Median NT-proBNP concentrations were 5,720 ng/L (1,430 to 15,698) and 854 ng/L (190 to 3,560) in patients with and without cardiac dysfunction, respectively (P < 0.0001). In addition, NT-proBNP concentrations were correlated with age (ρ = 0.43, P < 0.0001) and inversely correlated with creatinine clearance (ρ = -0.58, P < 0.0001). When evaluating the performance of NT-proBNP concentrations to detect cardiac dysfunction, the area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was 0.76 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.69 to 0.83). In addition, a stepwise logistic regression model revealed that NT-proBNP (odds ratio (OR) = 1.01 per 100 ng/L, 95% CI 1.002 to 1.02), electrocardiogram modifications (OR = 11.03, 95% CI 5.19 to 23.41), and severity assessed by organ system failure score (OR = 1.63 per point, 95% CI 1.17 to 2.41) adequately predicted cardiac dysfunction. The area under the ROC curve of this model was 0.83 (95% CI 0.77 to 0.90).
Conclusions
NT-proBNP measured at ICU admission might represent a useful marker to exclude cardiac dysfunction in critically ill patients.
doi:10.1186/cc7110
PMCID: PMC2646347  PMID: 18990203

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