Body chemical may help critically ill to improve

Toronto: The presence of a natural chemical in the body, procalcitonin (PCT), may be an effective way to improve the results of critically ill patients, a latest research says.

"We`re trying to find ways to improve the outcomes of sick, elderly patients and at the same time, reduce health care costs," says Daren Heyland, professor of Medicine at Queen`s University, Canada.

PCT helps to monitor if you have an infection in body. Heyland and colleagues John Muscedere (School of Medicine) and Ana Johnson (community health) found that levels of PCT rise in response to an infection and fall in response to sufficient antibiotic treatment.

Prolonged antibiotic exposure ups drug-resistance among pathogens. PCT could help physicians optimise antibiotic use, the journal Critical Care Medicine reports.

It makes sense to examine ways in which the duration of antibiotic treatment can be made more precise and safer, adds Heyland.

The researchers found that using PCT levels to guide antibiotic use means that a course of antibiotics can, on average, be reduced by two days without affecting patient health or length of stay in the intensive care unit.

"This study is an example of the kind of technology evaluation that is so important to do, to inform clinicians and health care decision makers how to achieve best patient outcomes with the least costs," says Johnson.


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