Inflammation markers in point-of-care testing (POCT)

  • Albrecht Pfäfflin
  • Erwin Schleicher


Inflammation is a central issue in medicine. Inflammatory processes may be local or systemic, acute or chronic, and they may be benign or fatal. In bacterial or viral infections fast and reliable diagnosis is essential for appropriate treatment, e.g. antimicrobial therapy. The time to diagnosis is critical because uncontrolled infections may lead to sepsis with a mortality rate close to 50%. Beside clinical signs, laboratory markers are important in detecting, differentiating, and monitoring inflammation, particularly acute infections. Currently several inflammation markers including leukocyte count and leukocyte differentiation, C-reactive protein (CRP), procalcitonin (PCT), and interleukins (IL) 6 and 8, is available, and potential future serum markers are under development. In this article the clinical use of these markers in routine laboratory and in point-of-care testing is described and the diagnostic value of the four groups of laboratory marker is compared. Current data show that leukocyte count or, better, neutrophil count, CRP, and PCT are well suited to support of rapid diagnosis of inflammation and infections in children and adults whereas measurement of IL-6 and 8 are preferable for detection of sepsis in neonates.


Point-of-care testing Inflammation Infection Sepsis CRP Procalcitonin Leukocyte Granulocyte Interleukin cost-efficiency Clinical outcome 



We thank Dr Andreas Peter for critical reading of the manuscript. The work was supported by the European Union (CARE-MAN: NMP4-2006-CT-01733 to E. S.).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Internal Medicine IV, Clinical Chemistry UnitUniversity Hospital of TübingenTübingenGermany

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