Ordering Recommendation

Use to assess risk of progression to severe sepsis and septic shock in critically ill patients upon admission to ICU. Use in conjunction with other laboratory findings.

New York DOH Approval Status

This test is New York state approved.

Specimen Required

Patient Preparation

The same specimen type (serum, plasma) should be used throughout the patient's clinical course.


Plasma separator tube (PST) or serum separator tube (SST).

Specimen Preparation

For serum specimens, ensure that complete clot formation has taken place prior to centrifugation. If the specimen is centrifuged before complete clot formation, the presence of fibrin may cause erroneous results.
The use of plasma is recommended for rapid turnaround of results.
For accurate results, serum and plasma specimens should be free of fibrin, red blood cells, and other particulate matter.
Separate from cells ASAP or within 2 hours of collection. Transfer 2 mL serum or plasma to an ARUP standard transport tube. (Min: 0.3 mL)

Storage/Transport Temperature


Unacceptable Conditions

Specimens collected in citrate anticoagulant.
Specimens that are heat-inactivated, pooled, grossly hemolyzed, contain obvious microbial contamination or fungal growth should not be used.


After separation from cells: Ambient: 24 hours; Refrigerated: 5 days; Frozen: 15 days


Quantitative Chemiluminescent Immunoassay (CLIA)




Within 24 hours

Reference Interval

Less than 0.07 ng/mL

Interpretive Data

Procalcitonin >2.00 ng/mL: Procalcitonin levels above 2.00 ng/mL on the first day of ICU admission represent a high risk for progression to severe sepsis and/or septic shock.

Procalcitonin <0.50 ng/mL: Procalcitonin levels below 0.50 ng/mL on the first day of ICU admission represent a low risk for progression to severe sepsis and/or septic shock.

If the procalcitonin measurement is performed shortly after the systemic infection process has started (usually less than 6 hours), these values may still be low. As various noninfectious conditions are known to induce procalcitonin as well, procalcitonin levels between 0.50 ng/mL and 2.00 ng/mL should be reviewed carefully to take into account the specific clinical background and condition(s) of the individual patient.

Compliance Category



Procalcitonin levels below 0.50 ng/mL do not exclude an infection, because localized infections (without systemic signs) may also be associated with such low levels.

Hotline History


CPT Codes



Component Test Code* Component Chart Name LOINC
0020764 Procalcitonin 33959-8
* Component test codes cannot be used to order tests. The information provided here is not sufficient for interface builds; for a complete test mix, please click the sidebar link to access the Interface Map.


  • antibiotic adequacy
  • PCT
  • Procalcitonin Sepsis Biomarker
  • ProCT