Sepsis Testing FAQs
Practical aspects of PCT testing
|Frequently asked questions||Answers|
|PCT induction and kinetics||
Rapid increase after bacterial infection
Half-life time in vivo
PCT increases ~3 hours after bacterial infection, reaching maximum values after 6-12 hours.2,21
About 24 hours
|Frequency of PCT measurement for PCT patient monitoring||Minimum once per day|
|Interpretation of PCT concentrations during infectious disease monitoring* of high-risk patients, e.g. after extended surgery or polytrauma||Low PCT levels or significant reduction of primarily increased PCT levels (e.g.after extended surgery) during the following days by ~50% per day to reach low values after a couple of days
No infectious complication
material and stability
|Sample material for PCT measurement||
Human serum or plasma may be used.21 *
Current assay formats are suitable for use with human serum or plasma only. Other human body fluids or samples from other species cannot be used.
At room temperature
Freeze/thaw, 3 cycles
Very stable in vitro, no special requirements for pre-analytical sample handling and storage 21
~2% decomposition rate during the first two hours after blood collection,
Stable for 6 months
< 2% loss of PCT in the sample
2. Christ-Crain M, Müller B. Procalcitonin in bacterial infections – hype, hope or more or less? Swiss Med Wkly
2005; 135: 451-60.
4. Harbarth S, Holeckova K, Froidevaux C, Pittet D, Ricou B, Grau GE, Vadas L, Pugin J; Geneva Sepsis Network.
Diagnostic value of procalcitonin, interleukin-6, and interleukin-8 in critically ill patients admitted with
suspected sepsis. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2001;164:396-402.
11. Stuber F. Lecture, 21st International Symposium on Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (ISICEM),
12. Luyt CE, Guerin V, Combes A, Trouillet JL, Ayed SB, Bernard M, Gibert C, Chastre J. Procalcitonin kinetics
as a prognostic marker of ventilator-associated pneumonia. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2005;171:48-53.
15. Christ-Crain M, Stolz D, Bingisser R, Muller C, Miedinger D, Huber PR, Zimmerli W, Harbarth S, Tamm M,
Muller B. Procalcitonin Guidance of Antibiotic Therapy in Community-acquired Pneumonia: A Randomized
Trial. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2006;174:84-93.
21. Meisner M. Procalcitonin (PCT) – A new, innovative infection parameter. Biochemical and clinical aspects.
Thieme; Stuttgart, New York, 2000; ISBN 3-13-105503-0.
22. Falcoz PE, Laluc F, Toubin MM, Puyraveau M, Clement F, Mercier M, Chocron S, Etievent JP. Usefulness of
procalcitonin in the early detection of infection after thoracic surgery. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg 2005; 27: 1074-8.