Background: Early diagnosis of neonatal sepsis followed by appropriate treatment decreases mortality and morbidity in infants. The aim of this study is to assess the role of procalcitonin (PCT) as a marker in the early diagnosis of neonatal sepsis.

Methods: We present a cross sectional study where 35 neonates with early onset sepsis (admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Units at El-Minia Children University Hospital from August 2012 to August 2013) were included in the study. Another 35 healthy neonates with no clinical or biological data of infection were included as a control group. Subjects were subjected to a thorough history taking and routine laboratory investigations. Serum PCT and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

Results: Mean levels of PCT and CRP in neonates with sepsis were significantly higher than in the control group (p=0.0001). There was a moderate, but significant, positive correlation between PCT and C-reactive protein (p=0.001, r=0.55) and an insignificant correlation between procalcitonin and total leukocytic count among the neonates with sepsis (p=0.2, r=0.2). In addition, procalcitonin had high sensitivity, specificity, a high positive predictive value, and a high negative predictive value (80%, 85.7%, 84.8%, and 81.1% respectively). Procalcitonin showed higher sensitivity when compared to CRP. 

Conclusion: Procalcitonin is a sensitive, independent, and useful biomarker in comparison to CRP in early diagnosis of neonatal sepsis.

Keywords: Procalcitonin, C-reactive protein, Neonatal sepsis
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