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How to use… Procalcitonin
  1. Philip Robinson1,
  2. Surjo Kiran De2
  1. 1 Department of Paediatrics, Royal London Hospital, London, UK
  2. 2 Department of Clinical Microbiology, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Philip Robinson, Department of Paediatrics, Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, London E1 1BB, UK; philiprobinson1{at}


Diagnosing bacterial infection in the unwell or febrile child is a common challenge faced by all paediatricians. Despite the advent of novel molecular techniques, there is ongoing need for diagnostic assays with adequate performance and turnaround time to facilitate safe clinical decision-making when bacterial sepsis is suspected, such as whether to commence empirical treatment with antibiotics. Procalcitonin is an established marker of infection that has a potential role in the diagnosis and exclusion of serious or invasive bacterial infection in neonates and children. Although enthusiastically adopted in many countries and institutions, national guidance in the UK does not yet support its routine use. This article reviews the relevant literature on the use of procalcitonin measurement in common paediatric clinical scenarios.

  • infection
  • procalcitonin
  • sepsis
  • neonate
  • paediatric

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  • Contributors PR drafted the manuscript. SKD reviewed and edited the manuscript. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.