Sepsis is a disease with a high mortality rate without prompt treatment. However, this entity is difficult to diagnose in the elderly population in the emergency room; for this reason, it is necessary to have diagnostic tools for early detection.
The aim of the study was to determine the highest diagnostic yield of procalcitonin (PCT), Quick Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (qSOFA), and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) for sepsis (based on the sepsis-3 consensus), on admission at the emergency department, in those older than 65 years.
This is a diagnostic test study of a historical cohort of 65-year-old patients with suspected sepsis.
In the sample of 179 patients, 53.6% had confirmed sepsis. Significant differences were found (p < 0.0001), with a greater diagnostic and predictive capacity of PCT for the diagnosis of sepsis (receiver operating characteristics curve area [area under the curve (AUC) = 0.883, 95% CI: 0.835-0.931] than qSOFA (AUC = 0.559, 95% CI: 0.485-0.663) and SOFA (AUC = 0.662, 95% CI: 0.584-0.739); these results were similar in the cohort of patients ≥75 years. In positive PCT(≥0.5 ng/mL), the sensitivity was 71.8% (95% CI: 62.36-81.39), specificity of 89.1% (95% CI: 81.87-96.45%), V+ 88.4% (95% CI: 80.73-96.19%), V- of 73.2% (95% CI: 64.14-82.39%), positive likelihood ratio of 6.63 (95% CI: 3.53-12.44), and negative likelihood ratio of 0.32 (95% CI: 0.23-0.44); these results were similar in the cohort of patients ≥75 years. Lactate ≥2 mmol/L (RR = 1.659 [95% CI: 1.002-2.747]) and PCT ≥0.5 ng/mL (RR = 1.942 [95% CI: 1.157-3.261]) showed a significant association with in-hospital mortality.
In the elderly population with suspicion of infection on admission to the emergency department, qSOFA presents a low diagnostic performance of confirmed sepsis and in-hospital mortality, for which other tools with higher diagnostic and prognostic performance should be added, such as PCT and lactate.

© 2021 S. Karger AG, Basel.