Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

MS in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Meredith Wold


Community-acquired pneumonia infections can be life-threatening illnesses in specific populations. Once identified as pneumonia, the first line treatment is empiric antibiotic therapy based on the most likely causative pathogen. Bacterial pathogens are not the only cause of community-acquired pneumonia, viral pathogens can also cause pneumonia. In those cases, antibiotics would not be a useful treatment option. Antibiotic stewardship has become an important aspect of prescribing for all healthcare providers to decrease antibiotic resistance and emergence of superbugs. Utilizing the biomarker procalcitonin can be beneficial in determining if the patient is suffering from a bacterial or viral infection and, therefore, shorten the length and exposure to unnecessary antibiotic. Additionally, antibiotic treatment continuation decisions can be made based on serial procalcitonin levels. Shortening the length of treatment based on procalcitonin levels has shown no increase in mortality in patients suffering from community- acquired pneumonia infections. Procalcitonin has been used extensively in Europe to guide pneumonia treatment, and is beginning to gain popularity among clinicians in the United States.