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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

Published in Association with the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM)

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In This Section
Volume 45, Issue 11 (Nov 2007)


Umbilical cord blood serum procalcitonin by Time-Resolved Amplified Cryptate Emission (TRACE) technology: reference values of a potential marker of vertically transmitted neonatal sepsis

Elena Llorente
  • 1Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias, Servicio de Bioquímica, Oviedo, Spain
/ Belén Prieto
  • 2Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias, Servicio de Bioquímica, Oviedo, Spain
/ Leyre Cardo
  • 3Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias, Servicio de Bioquímica, Oviedo, Spain
/ Noelia Avello
  • 4Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias, Servicio de Bioquímica, Oviedo, Spain
/ Francisco V. Alvarez
  • 5Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias, Servicio de Bioquímica, Oviedo, Spain and Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Universidad de Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain
Published Online: 2007-10-31 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/CCLM.2007.304


Background: Neonatal infection remains a major diagnostic problem because of non-specific clinical signs and symptoms, as well as low sensitivity and specificity of routine laboratory tests. C-reactive protein (CRP), white blood cell count, absolute neutrophil count and immature/total neutrophil ratio are the most widely used tests in the diagnosis of sepsis and provide useful information, but none of these has demonstrated to be reliable in detecting all septic infants. Procalcitonin (PCT) has been suggested as a potentially useful laboratory test performed in umbilical cord blood when perinatal bacterial sepsis is under investigation.

Methods: In this study, the reference interval for umbilical cord blood serum PCT was established for the first time by Time-Resolved Amplified Cryptate Emission (TRACE) technology.

Results: The reference interval for PCT in umbilical cord blood serum ranged from 0.04 to 0.43 μg/L in 168 non-infected newborn infants (95% CI 0.02–0.06 and 0.35–0.60 μg/L, respectively). Cord blood serum PCT correctly classified one infected patient out of 90 newborn infants at risk of vertically transmitted sepsis and identified another neonate as a potentially infected patient despite having negative blood cultures. However, cord blood CRP misclassified 21 out of the 90 patients as infected neonates.

Conclusions: Cord blood PCT measured by TRACE is a potentially more useful early marker of neonatal sepsis than cord blood CRP.

Clin Chem Lab Med 2007;45:1531–5.

Keywords: cord blood serum; C-reactive protein; neonatal sepsis; procalcitonin

About the article

Corresponding author: Belén Prieto García, PhD, Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias, c/ Celestino Villamil, s/n – 33006 Oviedo, Spain Phone/Fax: +34-985-108073,

Received: 2007-04-24

Accepted: 2007-07-08

Published Online: 2007-10-31

Published in Print: 2007-11-01

Citation Information: Clinical Chemical Laboratory Medicine, ISSN (Online) 14374331, ISSN (Print) 14346621, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/CCLM.2007.304. Export Citation

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