Procalcitonin interest to assess a septic state inducing the death


In this prospective study, we evaluated the use of PCT when collecting the body which was carried out. The chosen cut-off was set at 10 ng/mL because at this level, the PCT was associated to a multiorgan failure attributable to a septic shock.For 90 cases, two groups were stratified by their final diagnosis: 33 of for non violent deaths and 57 of violent deaths. There was no significant elevation of procalcitonin rate (PCT) in the group of violent deaths. We noted 6 elevations of PCT rate above 10 ng/mL for non violent deaths (15.4%) and in 3 cases there wasan evidence for an infectious context (recent anti- infectious treatments, chemotherapy in progress).Control of CRP performed on blood samples found initial elevations above 10 mg/L in 3 of the 6 cases (including 2 of 3 cases associated with an infectious context). There is no evidence of PCT rate increase for intermediate PMI (post mortem interval), long PMI and undefined PMI. This study found a PPV (positive predictive value) and clinical specificity of 100% for a cut-off set at 10 ng/mL. By taking this threshold, no significant PCT increase was observed in presence of death cases related to a violent origin as well as a fatal multiorgan failure due to malignant hyperthermia syndrome induced by neuroleptic use. The PCT appears to remain stable over time and whatever the conservation conditions of the body.

Share and Cite:

Sadeg, N. , Tarlier, F. , Veneau, L. and Belhadj-Tahar, H. (2013) Procalcitonin interest to assess a septic state inducing the death. Forensic Medicine and Anatomy Research, 1, 67-69. doi: 10.4236/fmar.2013.14014.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] INSERM. Database on causes of death in France.
[2] Tsokos, M. Reichelt, U. Nierhaus, A. and Püschel, K. (2001) Serum Procalcitonin (PCT): A valuable parameter for the postmortem diagnosis of sepsis. International Journal of Legal Medicine, 114, 237-244.
[3] Belhadj-Tahar, H. Veneau, L. and Sadeg, N. (2008) Interest in forensic troponin Ic to a suspicious death. Canadian Society Forensic Science Journal, 41, 1-12.
[4] Sands, K.E., Bates, D.W., Lanken, P.N., Graman, P.S., Hibberd, P.L., Kahn, K.L., Parsonnet, J., Panzer, R., Orav, E.J., Snydman, D.R., Black, E., Schwartz, J.S., Moore, R., Johnson, B.L. and Platt, R. (1997) Epidemiology of sepsis syndrome in 8 academic medical centers. Journal of the American Medical Association, 278, 234-240.
[5] Belhadj-Tahar, H., Coulais, Y., Tafani, M. and Bouissou, F. (2008) Procalcitonin implication in renal cell apoptosis induced by acute pyelonephritis in children. Infection Drug Resistance, 1, 17-20.
[6] Ramsthaler, F., Kettner, M., Mall, G. and Bratzke, H. (2008) The use of rapid diagnosis test of Procalcitonin serum for the postmortem diagnosis of sepsis. Forensic Science International, 178, 139-145.

Copyright © 2022 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.