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Is there a role for serum procalcitonin in the differentiation between septic and non-septic arthritis

Report by: Chih-Hung Wang

Checked by: Zui-Shen Yen

Institution: Department of Emergency Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital and National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan

A short-cut review was carried out to establish whether tserum procalcitonin levels assist in the differentiation between septic and non-septic arthritis in patients presening with a swollen and tender joint. Five studies were directly relevant to the question. The author, date and country of publication, patient group studied, study type, relevant outcomes, results and study weaknesses of these studies are shown in table 3. The clinical bottom line is that there is insufficient evidence to support the routine use of serum procalcitonin in the differentiation of septic and non-septic arthritis. However, the specificity is moderately high and current studies show some promise. Further research is needed to answer this question.

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Table 3

Relevant papers

Three-part question

In [a patient with a swollen and tender joint] does [serum …

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