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Clin Chem Lab Med. 2008;46(5):660-6.

Plasma procalcitonin measured by time-resolved amplified cryptate emission (TRACE) in liver transplant patients. A prognosis marker of early infectious and non-infectious postoperative complications.

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  • 1Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias, Servicio de Bioquímica, Oviedo, Spain.



Elevated procalcitonin (PCT) levels are observed after major surgery, such as orthotopic liver transplantation (OLTx). The aim of this observational study was to evaluate PCT kinetics during the first 5 following days after surgery to establish the prognostic value of PCT changes in the outcome of OLTx, and to predict medical, technical and infectious complications. PCT was also evaluated in the differential diagnosis of infection vs. rejection.


A total of 64 OLTx were performed in 58 patients; they were split into two groups: with and without complications. Out of these patients, 18 developed infection, and nine rejection. PCT was measured before and during surgery, 12 h after transplantation and daily for the 5 following days. PCT was also measured the day when infection or rejection was diagnosed, and on the previous day. PCT was determined by time-resolved amplified cryptate emission (TRACE) technology.


PCT elevation began at 12 h after surgery, reaching a peak on the 1st day in both groups. Significantly higher PCT concentrations were found in the group of patients developing complications, on the 5 postoperative days. It was found that a 24 h PCT value higher than 1.92 microg/L increased by 9.1-time-fold the risk of complications. When infection was diagnosed, a second peak of PCT was observed, but no PCT elevation was shown in rejection.


Daily monitored PCT provides valuable information about the early outcome of OLTx.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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