Procalcitonin Test – An Overview

What is Procalcitonin Test?

Procalcitonin is a peptide (a short chain of amino acids) that the body produces in reaction to bacterial infections or tissue damage. When systemic bacterial infections and sepsis are present, procalcitonin levels increase in the blood. A procalcitonin test detects procalcitonin levels in the blood and is used to identify the presence of bacterial sepsis, a severe, systemic, and potentially life-threatening illness.

Sepsis is a systemic bacterial infection that spreads throughout the body on a huge scale. Newborns and infants, the elderly, patients after surgery, people with medical devices such as catheters, diabetic patients, patients with weakened or compromised immune systems due to conditions like AIDS, and otherwise healthy individuals with an untreated bacterial infection are all at risk of developing sepsis.

When a very ill person develops signs and symptoms that indicate a systemic or severe bacterial infection or sepsis, a procalcitonin test may be required.

Some of the indications and symptoms of sepsis are as follows:

  • Fever, chills, and shivering
  • Skin that is clammy or sweaty
  • Extreme discomfort or pain
  • Breathing quickly
  • A fast heartbeat
  • Perplexity or disorientation
  • Urination is less frequent
  • Light-headedness
  • Dizziness
  • Appetite loss
  • Rashes on the skin
  • Pain in the stomach
  • Diarrhea with severe cramps

A procalcitonin test is performed to evaluate the following:

  • To check whether the infection is bacterial or not, whether there is a danger that a person’s condition will advance to severe sepsis, septic shock, or death.
  • Whether a secondary bacterial infection has occurred in patients who have suffered tissue damage as a result of trauma or surgery, burns, or a viral illness like pneumonia.
  • Antibiotic treatments and the efficacy of medicines that have previously been given.
  • It’s mostly utilized in people who go to emergency rooms or are admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) with signs and symptoms that could be caused by sepsis.

This testing requires no extra preparation and can be taken at any time of day.

The test is performed using a blood sample. A syringe is used to draw blood from a vein in your arm or hand. It’s a procedure that’s done regularly in a hospital, clinic, or lab. Additionally, home collection services are now available. To properly draw your blood sample, a licensed phlebotomist, nurse, or medical assistant will come to your home.

Keep the following considerations in mind:

  • You may notice a minor bruise at the puncture site.
  • Slight pain in the arm after the test, which can last for a few days.

There is usually no such risk associated with the Procalcitonin Test.

This test measures the extent of procalcitonin in the blood. Procalcitonin is generally produced during the production of the thyroid hormone calcitonin. It is created by C-cells, which are unique cells in the thyroid gland, and are present in low amounts in the blood. It may, however, be produced by other cells in the body when prompted by certain disease processes, including bacterial infections. It is not significantly raised when a person is infected with a virus.

Reference range:

0 to 0.05 micrograms per liter (µg/L)


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Understanding Procalcitonin Test Results

1. Low risk of sepsis: less than 0.5 µg/L
2. Possible sepsis: between 0.5 µg/L and 2 µg/L
3. Moderate to high risk of sepsis: between 2 µg/L and 10 µg/L
4. Severe sepsis: 10 µg/L or greater

The test can also detect whether a given infection is bacterial or viral. The etiology is most probable viral if the symptoms are severe but the procalcitonin level is low. This will guarantee that the proper medication is delivered and that antibiotics are not used unnecessarily.

If your test results are within the usual reference range, no medical intervention is required.

Procalcitonin levels beyond a certain threshold in the blood suggest the presence of a serious systemic bacterial infection. Procalcitonin levels above normal indicate a major bacterial or fungal infection, trauma, acute pancreatitis, burn injuries, multi-organ failure, and so on.

C-reactive protein (CRP), cultures (e.g., blood culture, urine culture), lactate, blood gases, complete blood count (CBC), and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analyses are examples of other tests that may be utilized in conjunction with procalcitonin

Higher levels imply a high risk of sepsis or a bacterial cause for the symptoms. They also point to an increased risk of developing severe sepsis and subsequently septic shock.

Moderate increases may be related to a non-infectious disease or an early bacterial infection and should be carefully investigated together with other findings.

In a person being treated for a serious bacterial illness, decreasing procalcitonin levels suggest a response to therapy.

Aside from a bacterial infection, certain other illnesses can raise procalcitonin levels in the blood in a mild to severe way. Tissue injury from trauma, surgery, large-scale burns, inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), heart attacks, organ transplant rejection, advanced urinary tract infection in infants involving the kidneys, and viral illnesses like pneumonia are among these ailments.


Instructions To Book an Appointment

The details about this test mentioned on our website are for reference purpose only. It is recommended to contact a doctor for interpreting and understanding the test reports. Instead of searching 'procalcitonin test near me' on the web, all you need to do is, visit our website and book the procalcitonin test online. Just enter your mobile number or mail, generate an OTP, add your details, and schedule your appointment. No documents are needed at the time of booking; a few basic details are all we want. Also, we offer contactless doorstep collection services as well.

You can also book the appointment for your test by dialing our customer care number i.e. +91-124-4967000.

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