Procalcitonin — An Indicator of Sepsis

  • W. Karzai
  • A. Meier-Hellmann
  • K. Reinhart
Conference paper
Part of the Yearbook of Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine book series (YEARBOOK, volume 1998)


Sepsis is defined as a systemic inflammatory response to severe infections. However a similar systemic inflammatory response may also be triggered by other insults such as pancreatitis [1], major trauma [2], and burns [3]. Common clinical signs of systemic inflammation such as changes in body temperature, leukocytosis, and tachycardia may therefore have an infectious or non-infectious etiology and are neither specific nor sensitive for sepsis. It is, thus, frequently difficult to distinguish patients with systemic infection from those who appear septic but have no evidence of infection. Bacteriologic evidence of infection also has drawbacks because it may not develop concurrently with clinical signs of sepsis, and a negative bacteriologic result does not exclude the presence of infection or of sepsis [4]. Since these common clinical and laboratory parameters lack sensitivity and specificity, others are needed to provide an early marker of the infectious etiology of a generalized inflammatory response and thus allow early diagnosis and the application of more specific therapeutic interventions. Furthermore, new parameters may also help identify subgroups of septic patients who may benefit from pro- or anti-inflammatory therapies. One such parameter, procalcitonin (PCT), has recently drawn attention as a possible marker of the systemic inflammatory response to infection.


Septic Shock Acute Pancreatitis Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome Severe Infection Common Clinical Sign 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Karzai
  • A. Meier-Hellmann
  • K. Reinhart

There are no affiliations available

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