To examine the effect of endotoxemia on the procalcitonin (PCT) serum levels and mortality rates of adult patients with septic shock diagnosed on the day of admission to the intensive care unit (ICU).A retrospective observational study was performed over a 2-year period. Levels of PCT were compared for septic shock patients with and without endotoxemia on admission to the ICU. Endotoxemia was identified with an Endotoxin Activity Assay.One hundred fifty-seven patients with septic shock were enrolled into the study. Group 1 consisted of patients with elevated endotoxin activity (EA) (n = 95, EA = 0.57 endotoxin activity unit [EAU] [0.46-0.67]) and Group 2 consisted of patients with low EA (n = 62, EA = 0.27 EAU [0.17-0.36]). Acute Physiology And Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE II) score and SOFA score were similar in both groups (APACHE II = 23 [16-29] and 19 [16-25]; Sequential Organ Failure Assessment [SOFA] = 10 [7-13] and 11 [8-12] in Groups 1 and 2, respectively) (nonsignificant). The PCT level was 6 times higher in Group 1 than in Group 2 (19.6 ng/mL vs. 3.1 ng/mL, P < 0.001). There was a strong correlation between EA and serum PCT (P < 0.001, R = 0.5). The presence of endotoxemia on admission to the ICU was associated with an increased mortality rate: 52% in the group of patients with endotoxemia and 25% in the group without endotoxemia. EA in survivors was 0.39 EAU (0.26-0.57) and 0.53 EAU (0.4-0.61) in nonsurvivors (P = 0.004). The median PCT level in survivors was 6.7 ng/mL (2.3-28.0), compared with 16.7 ng/mL (5.3-31.0) in nonsurvivors (P = 0.04).This observational study revealed that endotoxemia in patients with septic shock on admission to the ICU was frequently found and was associated with an elevated PCT level and a high mortality rate. Endotoxemia was a common occurrence in patients with septic shock, regardless of the infecting microorganism.