Allina Health Laboratory a part of Abbott Northwestern Hospital



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Test Name:Procalcitonin
Test Number:8558
Collect:1.0 mL Li heparin plasma - PST
Minimum Volume:0.2 mL Li heparin plasma - PST
Alternate Collect:1.0 mL serum - SST
Container:Plasma Separator (PST)
Serum Separator (SST) or AHL false bottom plasma/serum transport tube
Processing:Spin and separate
Transport/Stability:Refrigerated (preferred):
48 hrs when removed from the clot or gel

8 hours on the clot or gel
24 hours when removed from the clot or gel

15 days
Alternate Names:PCN
Performing Lab:AHL - Chemistry; C
Days Set Up:Daily
Expected TAT:1 day
Ref. Ranges:<0.50 ng/mL


The following interpretation table is currently in use within Allina Health.

Procalcitonin for initial assessment of Lower Respiratory Tract Infection:

Results Interpretation
<0.1 ng/mL Antibiotics strongly discouraged*
0.1 – 0.25 ng/mL Antibiotics discouraged *
0.26 – 0.50 ng/mL Antibiotics encouraged**
>0.50 ng/mL Antibiotics strongly encouraged **

*If suspicion of infection high, clinically unstable, or immunosuppressed: initiate antibiotics. Repeat PCT testing in 6-24 hours.
**Repeat PCT testing every 1-2 days while on antibiotics to assess response to therapy.

Procalcitonin for initial assessment of severe sepsis risk:

Results Interpretation
< 0.5 ng/mL Associated with a low risk for progression to severe sepsis/septic shock
> 2.0 ng/mL Associated with a high risk for progression to severe sepsis/septic shock

Note: PCT levels below 0.5 ng/mL do not exclude an infection, because localized infections may also be associated with such low levels. If the PCT measurement is done very early after the systemic infection process has started (usually <6 hours), these values may still be low.

PCT levels between 0.5 ng/mL and 2.0 ng/mL should be interpreted in the context of the specific clinical background and conditions of the individual patient. It is recommended to re-test PCT within 6-24 hours if any concentrations <2.0 ng/mL are obtained.
Processing Details:
Useful for: Procalcitonin has been described as being useful in assisting physicians in the diagnosis of acute infection in several different conditions. Some of these are:
  • The differential diagnosis of bacterial versus viral infections.
  • The diagnosis of bacteremia and septicemia in adults and children (including neonates)
  • The diagnosis and monitoring of septic shock.
  • The diagnosis of systemic secondary infection post-surgery, and in severe trauma, burns, and multi-organ failure.
  • The monitoring of therapeutic response to antibacterial therapy
Method:Chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay (CMIA)
CPT Codes:84145
Clinical Utilities:Test Information
Date Created:08/05/2010
Revised Date:04/10/2019