The procalcitonin test was taken periodically when Luke was

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Patient: The procalcitonin test was taken periodically when Luke was in the hospital.5/13 it was measured at 1.365/12 It was measured at 2.975/11 it was measured at 5.36According to the results, anything above .5, it stated that a bacterial infection was “very likely.”Is this why the antibiotics was prescribed in the hospital?

Symptoms: My 13 year old son is currently on steroids and his procalcitonin level was measured at .07.

Doctor: Hi.Thanks for your query, albeit short and specific.Yes, it is true that Procalcitonin is used to evaluate the ris k that a seriously ill person is developing a systemic bacterial infection. Since your son is 13 and on steroids, the chances of contracting bacterial infection leading to formation of sepsis (infection) is very high and since the level was high on 5/11 at 5.36 indicated infection so the antibiotic must have been started.Daily progress if very good as is measuring 0.7 as the latest as pr the history your have provided.I hope this answers your specific query, please feel free to as k for further relevant queries if you feel that there is a gap of communication.

Comments / Follow Ups

Patient: So does that mean he definitely had a bacterial infection rather then viral? And does his .7 level mean he still has the bacteria in his system?

Doctor: Yes, Procalcitonin usually indicates Bacterial infection and not the viral infection.
There is progress is so good, one can say the bacterial infection is getting well under control.
This tests is not very specific and sensitive and is quite new and has good prognostic value.
Other parameters like WBC count, culture studies, effect of antibiotics, clinical improvement in the patient are some of hte other factors that also needs to be taken into consideration of the well-being of the patient. This test alone has not much of a role.
I hope this is made simple to understand.
Please feel free to ask further if there are further doubts.

Patient: Actually, I made a typo before and his current procalcitonin level is .07, so that is even better under control. What specifically about a WBC would tell if it were viral versus bacterial? When he was in septic shock, he was taking both antibiotics and steroids. Now he is solely on steroids. Can steroids combat any lingering bacterial/viral infection?

Doctor: Nice to know it is 0.07.
In viral the WBC is usually reduced and in bacterial it is usually on a higher side or above the normal values. This again depends how the body responds to a particular infection.
Steroids alone do not combat any infection.
I hope this answers your queries.

Since this is the 2nd allowable last follow- up per question, please ask a fresh new query if you want further interaction or want any other other information and give the question ID: 464234

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Dr. Jimmy Obaji M.D.

Dr. Jimmy Obaji completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of Manitoba. He currently operates a walk-in-clinic in downtown Toronto.

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