What is Procalcitonin?
The Procalcitonin Test measures the levels of procalcitonin in blood. Procalcitonin is secreted by cells in response to bacterial infection as well as tissue damage.
Why is Procalcitonin done?
The Procalcitonin Test is performed:
· To determine the presence of bacterial infection and distinguish bacterial infections from other infections in case of similar symptoms
· To help diagnose sepsis and determine its extent
· To monitor and guide antibiotic treatment for bacterial infections
What does Procalcitonin Measure?
The Procalcitonin Test helps to detect infection in the early stages so that it can be treated effectively. It also helps to differentiate between bacterial and non-bacterial infections so that the treatment may be provided appropriately.
Procalcitonin is secreted by most cells of the body in response to bacterial infections or tissue injuries. It is a messenger of the enzyme calcitonin which is secreted by the thyroid gland. A significant increase in the level of procalcitonin can be observed in case of a large-scale bacterial infection and sepsis.
The immune system of the body responds quickly in case of bacterial infection by producing inflammation which limits bacterial growth. In order to destroy the bacterial pathogens, the white blood cells arrive at the site. The immune system localizes (restricts) the bacterial infection. However, if the infection is not controlled, sepsis starts to occur. If sepsis is left untreated, it may become fatal.
Interpreting Procalcitonin results
Normal range (approx.): Below 0.15 ng/mL
Below 0.50 ng/mL: Low risk of severe sepsis
0.50 to 2.00 ng/mL: Borderline risk of severe sepsis
Above 2.00 ng/mL: High risk of severe sepsis
Reference range may vary from lab to lab*
Procalcitonin is almost undetectable in a normal healthy individual. Hence, the results of the Procalcitonin Test are to be interpreted in combination with other tests and clinical findings.
Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Procalcitonin
Frequently Asked Questions about Procalcitonin