Test Detail
Interpreting Results

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Written by
Dr. Shreya Gupta
BDS, MDS - Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
Reviewed by
Dr. Ashish Ranjan
MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)
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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

Q. Is there any preparation required before the test?
Inform the doctor about the medications you may be taking. No other specific preparations are usually required before this test.
Q. How is the blood sample taken?
The healthcare provider takes a blood sample from the arm. The site from where the blood is to be withdrawn is cleaned with a swab of rubbing alcohol. This is then followed by inserting a small needle which has a tube attached to it for collecting blood. Once the sufficient blood for analysis is withdrawn, the needle is removed. The site is then covered with a gauze pad.
Q. Is there any risk associated with the withdrawal of blood sample procedure?
As such there is no risk but in few cases, bruising, bleeding, and infection at the puncture site can be seen. In very few cases, there can be swelling of the vein after the blood is withdrawn.
Q. What other tests can be prescribed by your doctor in case the results of Procalcitonin Test are not normal?
If the results of Procalcitonin Test are not normal, the doctor may prescribe other tests such as C-Reactive Protein Test, Bacterial Culture Test, Complete Blood Count (CBC) Test, Lactate Test or Comprehensive Metabolic Panel Test.
Q. What are the common symptoms of sepsis?
The most common clinical symptoms that may indicate a large-scale systemic bacterial infection or sepsis include fever with shivering or chills, clammy (slimy to touch) and sweaty skin, extreme discomfort or pain in any part of the body or the entire body, rapid breathing, increased heartbeat, confusion, dizziness and reduced frequency of urination.
Q. What conditions other than bacterial infection can cause increased procalcitonin levels in the body?
Apart from a bacterial infection, certain other conditions can also mildly to moderately elevate the procalcitonin levels in the blood. These conditions include tissue injury due to trauma, surgery; large-scale burns, inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), heart attacks, rejection of organ transplant, advanced urinary tract infection in children involving the kidneys and viral diseases like pneumonia.
Q. Who are at risk of developing sepsis?
Sepsis is a large-scale systemic bacterial infection that has spread to the whole body. People who are at risk of developing sepsis include newborns and infants, the elderly, patients after surgery, people with medical devices such as catheters, patients suffering from Diabetes, patients with weakened or compromised immune systems due to conditions like AIDS or otherwise healthy individuals with an untreated bacterial infection.
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Clinitech Laboratory Private Limited was registered at Registrar of Companies Mumbai on 19 March, 2010 and is categorised as Company limited by Shares and an Non-govt company. Clinitech Laboratory Private Limited's Corporate Identification Number (CIN) is U85195MH2010PTC201078 and Registeration Number is 201078. Clinitech Laboratory Private Limited registered address on file is AL - 1 / 545 & 546, SECTOR 16, AIROLI, NAVI MUMBAI MH 400708 IN, Navi Mumbai - 400708, Maharashtra, India. Clinitech...
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Booked test for mother who is about to undergo cataract ssurgery.Phlebo guys managed well in heavy rains.Report same day

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