Serum procalcitonin measurement is used to diagnose bacteremia and sepsis in adults and children, to diagnose renal involvement in urinary tract infections in children, to diagnose bacterial infections in neutropenic patients, to diagnose risk and septic shock monitoring, for the diagnosis of systemic secondary infections after surgery and in severe traumas, burns and multi-organ failure, for differential iagnosi microbial than viral meningitis, the differential diagnosis of bacterial from viral pneumonia and to monitor therapeutic response to antimicrobial therapy.
Procalcitonin (PCT, ProCT) is a 116 amino acid protein that is the precursor form of calcitonin. It is produced and secreted by the thyroid gland and is normally undetectable in the blood of healthy individuals. In response to infection and systemic inflammation, the secretion of procalcitonin in the bloodstream increases and in combination with proteolytic enzymes breaks down to the active hormone, calcitonin. After an infection develops, procalcitonin increases within 3 hours, peaks within 12-24 hours and has a half-life of 22-29 hours.
When inflammation is caused by a bacterial infection, the presence of procalcitonin is particularly pronounced because it is also released by the liver, kidneys, lungs, muscles and adipose tissue, elevating procalcitonin levels in serum significantly above normal levels. Thus, procalcitonin measurement is useful in differentiating bacterial infections from other pathological conditions and has been shown to be a more sensitive and specific marker for this purpose than C-reactive protein (CRP). For example, measurement of procalcitonin is useful in differentiating lower respiratory bacterial infections from other conditions. Procalcitonin is also associated with the severity of the infection and is useful for the detection of serious microbial infections in children.
Monitoring of serum procalcitonin values may be particularly useful in monitoring response to antibiotic therapy.
Possible Interpretations of Pathological Values
- Procalcitonin <0.50 ng / mL. Infection is not excluded, since local inflammation can be associated with such values.
- Procalcitonin> 2.0 ng / mL. Indicative of systemic bacterial infection or severe localized inflammation. May also be related to trauma, burns, polyorganic deficiency etc.
- Procalcitonin> 10.0 ng / mL. Indicative of sepsis
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.