Do We Need Procalcitonin for Sepsis?

Do we need procalcitonin for sepsis?


Globally, sepsis has been one of a major cause of acute illness and death. Delay in diagnosis and treatment of sepsis is responsible for increased death. So an early identification is of great importance to the later survival. In order to prove the presence of bacterial infection, serum biomarkers like procalcitonin (PCT) are advisable.

As a marker of bacterial infection, PCT has a very high negative-predictive­ value. So it is useful to rule out sepsis in emergency department and critical care settings.

Advantages of PCT compared with other biomarkers are as the following:

  • its early and rapid increase in response to bacterial infections and sepsis
  • improved accuracy of early clinical sepsis diagnosis
  • utility for assessing effectiveness of sepsis treatment
  • a role in antibiotic stewardship

So we can use PCT measurements for sepsis diagnosis.

Like any biomarker, PCT is not perfect and has some limitations. The biggest is expensiveness. Also, it is not the single definitive test for sepsis diagnosis. Rather, it must be interpreted in context of medical history, physical examination, microbiological assessment, and other relevant laboratory parameters.

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Keywords: procalcitonin sepsis

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.