Diagnostic value of procalcitonin levels as an early indicator of sepsis

Am J Emerg Med. 2002 May;20(3):202-6. doi: 10.1053/ajem.2002.33005.


Researchers and clinicians have been investigating and implementing various methods of early diagnosis for sepsis before documentation of infection. The aim of this study was to outline the efficiency of procalcitonin (PCT), C-reactive protein (CRP), and white blood cell count (WBC) in determining the early diagnosis of sepsis in the emergency department. Between January 1999 and September 2000, 34 patients with signs of systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) were enrolled in the study. The patients were divided into 2 groups according to non-suspected sepsis and suspected sepsis clinically. Admission PCT was significantly higher in suspected sepsis group (median 68.7 microg/L; lower [L] = 15.24 microg/L, upper [U] = 120.54 microg/L) compared with the unsuspected sepsis group (.23 microg/L; L =.10 microg/L, U =.44 microg/L). PCT values were compared with WBC and CRP levels. Predictive accuracy for sepsis expressed as area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was.88 for PCT,.44 for WBC, and.34 for CRP. PCT can probably be used as a predictive marker in bacterial infections in emergency departments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Calcitonin / blood*
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Emergencies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Protein Precursors / blood*
  • ROC Curve
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / mortality
  • Time Factors
  • Turkey / epidemiology


  • Biomarkers
  • CALCA protein, human
  • Protein Precursors
  • Calcitonin
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide