Procalcitonin (PCT) is a 116-amino acid protein with a sequence identical to that of the prohormone of calcitonin. Under normal conditions a specific protease cleaves all PCT to calcitonin, katacalcin and an N-terminal residue and hence in healthy individual PCT levels are either too low or undetectable. However, in severe bacterial infections or septic conditions, intact PCT is found in the blood and the concentrations of PCT may reach up to 1000 ng/ml. Point-of-care testing (POCT) is an important diagnostic tool used in various locations in the hospital, especially in intensive care unit (ICU), the operating room (OR), and emergency set-ups. Laboratory test results are often pivotal to fast decisions in majority of areas where patients are critical. Testing provides physicians with valuable knowledge about the emergency in the patients so that appropriate therapeutic interventions can be made quickly. Early detection of rising PCT levels has great significance and helps in diagnosing and managing the patients quickly. This review highlights various facts about PCT in point-of-care scenarios.
Keywords: Early detection; point of care; procalcitonin.