Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) is a major cause of morbidity among patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Diagnostic biomarkers for early detection of CDI are needed in clinical practice. The relationship between serum procalcitonin and CDI in IBD patients has not been investigated so far. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate the usefulness of measuring serum procalcitonin level to detect CDI in patients with the flare of IBD.
One hundred twenty patients with IBD were enrolled in this study. Bacterial identification was performed using standard microbiological and molecular methods. The serum procalcitonin levels were measured in all patients. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was applied to assess the value of procalcitonin for the prediction of CDI among IBD patients.
The median serum procalcitonin level was significantly increased in IBD patients with CDI compared to non-CDI IBD patients (0.69 ng/mL vs 0.32 ng/mL). In univariate analysis, log10 procalcitonin was associated with CDI (OR 2.81, 95% CI 1.54–4.09, P-value < 0.001). Procalcitonin 1.1 ng/mL was 85% sensitive and 88% specific for the prediction of CDI. In the multivariable model including the covariates log10 procalcitonin, age, hospitalization, type of IBD, duration of the disease, and antibiotic usage, procalcitonin showed a robust association with CDI (OR 4.59, 95% CI 2.49–6.70, P-value < 0.001). An elevated procalcitonin level was associated with the presence of CDI among IBD patients.
Our results indicate that procalcitonin level can be a good candidate biomarker for assessing the CDI in IBD patients. Further studies are required to decipher whether procalcitonin can predict CDI therapy or its recurrence.