Intact procalcitonin is secreted in response to inflammatory stimuli including bacterial infections. Procalcitonin increases can be seen 2–4 hours after bacterial induction, rise rapidly and reach a plateau after 6–12 hours. Concentrations then remain high for up to 48 hours and fall if the infection is controlled with a half-life of approximately 24–30 hours.
Procalcitonin concentrations may be helpful in the diagnosis of systemic bacterial infection. Suggested cut-offs for the diagnosis of Systemic Bacterial Infection are given below, taken from the method information sheet and found on https://www.procalcitonin.com
≥ 0.07 ug/L
NB: Procalcitonin increases after birth and remains elevated for 2 – 3 days. See https://www.procalcitonin.com/clinical-utilities/sepsis/reference-values-sepsis.html for more detailed information
|Sample & container required||Serum preferred. Heparin (green top) can also be accepted|
|Sample volume||min 0.5 mL|
|Transport storage||Serum must be analysed within 8h if kept on cells/separator gel at room temperature. Referral samples should be separated, frozen and transported on dry ice.|
|Turnaround time||1 day|
Other conditions than systemic bacterial infection may also increase procalcitonin levels including
– Neonates at < 48 hours of life (physiological elevation)
Falsely low procalcitonin levels in the presence of bacterial infection may occur during the early course of infections, in localized infections, and in subacute infectious endocarditis.