Sepsis is a daily challenge in intensive care units. Today various therapeutic strategies are known to improve survival in patients with sepsis. Early assessment is important for determination of the appropriate treatment.PCT is the prohormone of the hormone calcitonin; Calcitonin is exclusively produced by C-cells of the thyroid gland in response to hormonal stimuli, whereas PCT can be produced by several cell types and many organs in response to pro-inflammatory stimuli, in particular by bacterial products.In healthy people, plasma PCT concentrations are found to be below 0.1 μg/l. PCT levels rise rapidly after a bacterial infectious insult with systemic consequences. Early after multiple traumas, major surgery, severe burns or in neonates, PCT levels can be elevated independently of an infectious process, but the return to baseline is usually rapid. Viral infections, bacterial colonization, localized infections, allergic disorders, autoimmune diseases and transplant rejection do not usually induce a significant PCT response (values < 0.5 μg/l). Therefore, by evaluating PCT concentrations, the physician may use the findings to aid in the risk assessment for progression to severe sepsis and septic shock.
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