Send to

Choose Destination
Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2017 Jun;17(6):593-601. doi: 10.1080/14737159.2017.1324299. Epub 2017 May 3.

Overview of procalcitonin assays and procalcitonin-guided protocols for the management of patients with infections and sepsis.

Author information

a Medical University Department , Kantonsspital Aarau - Endocrinology/Diabetes/Clinical Nutrition and Internal Medicine , Aarau , Switzerland.
b Departement Biomedizin , Universitat Basel , Basel , Switzerland.
c Institute of Laboratory Medicine , Kantonsspital Aarau , Aarau , Switzerland.
d Department of Internal Medicine , Kantonsspital Aarau - University , Aarau , Switzerland.


Procalcitonin is a surrogate infection blood marker whose levels help estimate the likelihood of bacterial infections and correlate with their resolution. Recent trials have revealed the benefits of inclusion of procalcitonin in antibiotic stewardship protocols for initiation and discontinuation of antimicrobial therapy. Areas covered: Procalcitonin-guided antibiotic stewardship protocols have shown appreciable reductions in antibiotic use and duration of therapy in respiratory infections, sepsis, and other infections, with positive effects on clinical outcomes. Multiple fully automated and sensitive procalcitonin assays are routinely used in clinical practice. Utilization of these assays requires consideration of the clinical setting and knowledge of assay characteristics, particularly assay sensitivities, reproducibility, and performance across routinely used cut-off ranges. The authors provide an overview of the strengths and limitations of currently available procalcitonin assays and antibiotic therapy algorithms incorporating procalcitonin currently used in different clinical settings and in patients with different underlying infections. Expert commentary: Use of sensitive procalcitonin measurements in clinical algorithms can reduce antimicrobial overuse, decreasing the risk of side effects and controlling emerging bacterial multi-resistance. Before use in clinical practice, it is important to carefully assess the quality of novel PCT assays and rigorously evaluate them in target patient populations across clinically relevant cut-off ranges.


PCT algorithms; PCT assays; PCT cut-offs; Procalcitonin; antibiotic stewardship; assay; assay performance; assay sensitivity

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center