Procalcitonin Testing Now Available

Published on in CHOP News

September 21, 2012 — Procalcitonin (PCT) by immunofluorescence has recently been launched by the Clinical Chemistry Laboratory at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. PCT is a biomarker that exhibits greater specificity than other proinflammatory markers in identifying patients with sepsis and can be used in the diagnosis of bacterial infection.

This is a relatively new test that has been approved by the U.S. FDA for use in conjunction with other laboratory findings and clinical assessments to assist in the risk assessment of critically ill patients for progression to severe sepsis and septic shock.

  • TAT for PCT: 90 minutes from time sample is received to result
  • TAT for cultures: 24 to 48 hours
  • Specimen shipping information

Clinical uses of procalcitonin

To evaluate the risk that a seriously ill patient is developing a systemic bacterial infection.

  • Best used during the first day of presentation as an early detection tool.
  • PCT is used along with other tests CRP (C-reactive protein), blood culture, CBC (complete blood count), or CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) analysis.
  • Use to detect and rule out sepsis, bacterial meningitis or bacterial pneumonia in seriously ill patients and children with a fever of unknown origin.
  • PCT may be ordered at intervals to monitor effectiveness of antimicrobial treatment.
  • Rarely, it is ordered at intervals to monitor antimicrobial therapy in patients suspected of having sepsis.