Dr Rajesh Rengarajan
Product Manager – Clinical Chemistry,
DiaSys Diagnostic India Pvt. Ltd.

Procalcitonin As A Diagnostic Tool: Marker For Sepsis And Antibiotic Therapy

Sepsis is a global healthcare problem, characterized by whole body inflammation in response to microbial infection, and can lead to organ dysfunction. Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection. It is becoming a frequent complication in hospitalized patients. Early and differential diagnosis of sepsis is needed critically to avoid unnecessary usage of antimicrobial agents and for proper antibiotic treatments through the screening of biomarkers that sustains with diagnostic significance.

Inflammatory response is one of the primary responses to a microbial invasion, which leads to systemic illness which is referred to as sepsis. Its severity correlates with mortality. It may occur as a result of infections acquired from community, hospitals, or other healthcare facilities. There are an alarming number of 18 million new sepsis cases reported each year worldwide with mortality rate ranging from 30 to 50 percent.

Procalcitonin (PCT) is a pro-inflammatory marker that could be useful in the diagnosis of infection. In the past, PCT levels have been evaluated to diagnose sepsis or guide antibiotic therapy, but it was not determined if it would differentiate between sepsis and other causes of inflammation. PCT is a 116 amino acid protein, the prohormone of calcitonin. Hormonally active calcitonin is produced exclusively in the C-cells of the thyroid gland after specific intracellular proteolytic processing of the prohormone PCT; PCT is ubiquitously and uniformly expressed in multiple tissues throughout the body in response to sepsis. In healthy conditions, the PCT levels in circulation are very low (<0.05 ng/mL). Elevated circulating levels of PCT are important indicators in response to microbial infections and a powerful tool in the early detection of sepsis.

Elevated PCT may not always be caused by systemic bacterial infection. PCT assay is a latex particle enhanced immunoturbidimetric method intended for the quantitative determination of PCT in human serum, EDTA, or lithium heparin plasma. Measurement of PCT in conjunction with other laboratory findings and clinical assessments aids in the risk assessment of critically ill patients on their first day of ICU admission for progression to severe sepsis and septic shock.

Recently DiaSys launched PCT in the reagents portfolio and the main features of DiaSys PCT are liquid stable; ready-to-use; latex-enhanced immunoturbidimetric assay; two-reagent system; linearity: 52 ng/mL and sensitivity: 0.16 ng/mL; calibrator included in the kit; fast test results (10 minutes) for a rapid turnaround time; and reagent on-board stability: Four weeks.

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