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Test Code PROCLT Procalcitonin, LAB2677


Sandwich Electrochemiluminesence

Specimen Requirements


Preferred: Green-top lithium heparin tube

Acceptable: Gold-top serum gel tube or plain red-top tube, EDTA plasma (see Note)

Specimen Volume:  600 uL of lithium heparin plasma or serum

Stability:  Stable for 24 hours at room temperature, refrigerate up to 48 hours.  For prolonged storage, freeze samples up to 3 months.

Note:  Serum is also an acceptable sample but for any given patient, the PCT assay must be performed on the same type of sample tube.  For this reason, serum will only be used when it is not possible to use plasma.  If this occurs, all other PCT assays for the patient must be performed on serum as well.



Reference Values


PCT Level


≤ 0.50 ng/mL

Systemic infection (sepsis) is not likely.  Local bacterial infection is possible.

> 0.51 to ≤ 2.00 ng/mL

Systemic infection (sepsis) is possible, but other conditions are known to elevate PCT as well.

> 2.00 ng/mL

Systemic infection (sepsis) is likely, unless other causes are known.

≥ 10.00 ng/mL

Important systemic inflammatory response, almost exclusively due to severe bacterial sepsis or septic shock.


Early (<6 hours) or localized infections may not show significant procalcitonin elevations.  Elevations in procalcitonin may be seen in settings other than bacterial infection, including major trauma or surgery, severe burns, and sever/prolonged cardiogenic shock or organ hypoperfusion.


Neonates <2 ng/mL at birth, rises to ≤20 ng/mL at 18 to 30 hours, then falls to adult level by 72 hours.

Day(s) Test Set Up

Monday through Sunday

Test Classification and CPT Coding


Useful For

Procalcitonin is useful in the detection of bacterial infections as well as in determining the risk of severe sepsis in patients.

Performing Laboratory

St. Luke's Hospital Cedar Rapids