Misleading Serum Procalcitonin Elevation in Heatstroke

  • Marco Enzo Tau Ospedale Regionale di Lugano
  • Melissa Cocca Ospedale Regionale di Lugano


Heat stroke, Procalcitonin, Systemic inflammatory response syndrome


A healthy 44-year-old man, with a typical presentation of exertional heatstroke, presented with an increase in serum procalcitonin (PCT) levels. Suspecting a coexisting infection, the emergency physician started empirical antibiotic treatment and obtained samples for culture. The antibiotic treatment was stopped immediately after ward admission due to lack of signs of infection. The patient recovered completely after several days of rehydrating therapy and cultures remained negative for bacterial growth. PCT elevation is typically found with heatstroke, but this association is rarely found in daily practice due to the futility of PCT testing in this situation. Increased serum PCT levels in the context of heatstroke must not lead to an unsupported alternative diagnosis and useless investigations, tests and treatment.



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  • Published: 2017-10-30

    Issue: Vol 4 No 8 (view)

    Section: Articles

    How to cite:
    Tau, M. E., & Cocca, M. (2017). Misleading Serum Procalcitonin Elevation in Heatstroke. European Journal of Case Reports in Internal Medicine, 4(8). https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.12890/2017_000695