Pre-test preparation or requirements
• Sample can be drawn at any time. No fasting or special preparation required.
• Sample should taken in plain vial.
<0.5 ng/ml ----------- Normal or Systemic infection is not likely, Minor or lacal infection
0.5 to 2 ng/ml ----- Systemic infection sepsis is likely
2 to 10 ng/ml -------Most likely sepsis, risk of organ dysfunction
>10 ng/ml ------------Almost exclusively due to severe sepsis, organ dysfunction likely
Significance of test
Procalcitonin is a substance produced by many types of cells in the body, often in response to bacterial infections but also in response to tissue injury. The level of procalcitonin in the blood can increase significantly in systemic bacterial infections and sepsis. Procalcitonin results are interpreted in conjunction with findings from clinical evaluations as well as other laboratory tests.
Low levels of procalcitonin in a seriously ill person may indicate a low risk of developing sepsis and progression to severe sepsis and/or septic shock but do not exclude it. Low levels may indicate that the person's symptoms are due to a cause other than a bacterial infection, such as a viral infection. A low level may also indicate a localized infection that has not spread or become systemic, or a systemic infection that is less than six hours old. High levels indicate a high probability of sepsis and also suggest a higher risk of progression to severe sepsis and septic shock. High levels may also been seen in people with serious bacterial infections, such as meningitis. Moderate elevations may be due to a non-infectious condition or due to an early infection and, along with other findings, should be reviewed carefully. They may also be seen in children with kidney infections. Decreasing procalcitonin levels over time in a person being treated for sepsis or a bacterial infection indicate a response to therapy. Stable or increasing procalcitonin levels may indicate the need for continued therapy.
Procalcitonin (PCT) is a widely used biomarker to assess the risk of bacterial infection and disease progression.
Early evidence suggests that PCT may also be a valuable tool in identifying COVID-19 patients at high risk for clinical deterioration or patients at risk for bacterial co-infection.
PCT helps to discriminate between milder cases and more severe cases. PCT also helps to distinguish between severe bacterial pneumonia and mild viral pneumonia.
If a patient has bacterial co-infection, his prognosis and his mortality risk increases if early antibiotic treatment is not initiated.
Recent clinical findings show that unnecessary antibiotic use can be safely reduced in patients with low likelihood of bacterial co-infection indicated by low PCT values.