Treatment Options

High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein Testing for Cardiovascular Disease

Little Value

C-reactive protein (CRP) is produced by the liver.  CRP is a classic acute-phase reactant protein.  Under normal conditions CRP is found in low levels in the blood.  Levels of CRP can increase in response to inflammatory conditions, infections and other diseases where tissue death occurs.  CRP is not a specific marker of inflammation.  Levels of CRP can fluctuate a lot from day to day.  Blood specimens for CRP are collected by venipuncture.

High sensitivity CRP (hs-CRP) immunoassays can measure levels of CRP at very low levels.  An elevation of the hs-CRP can be caused by inflammatory conditions.   The results of hs-CRP testing are being investigated in various settings for a possible association with cardiovascular disease (e.g., screening, diagnosis and management).

Things to Consider

  • Several factors limit whether hs-CRP testing is an effective screening test for CVD.  These factors include:
    • Whether the test is reliable
    • Whether the test is effective for early cardiovascular disease detection
    • How accurately does the test predict cardiovascular disease
  • Elevation of  hs-CRP can be caused by inflammatory conditions
  • Normal lab value ranges for hs-CRP may vary among different laboratories.

Results

Little Value

Will I live longer if I have hs-CRP testing?

Scientific evidence is not available to determine long-term benefits of the use of hs-CRP testing for the screening, diagnosis, and management of CVD.  However, knowledge of the result of hs-CRP testing may encourage changes in lifestyle that may promote heart health. 

Will hs-CRP testing improve my quality of life?

It is still undetermined how the result of hs-CRP testing relates to the likelihood or severity of CVD.  However, knowledge of the result of hs-CRP testing may encourage changes in lifestyle that lead to increased quality of life.  

Safety

Moderate Value

How safe is this for me?

Minor discomfort may occur at the site where a blood sample is drawn.

Comparison

Little Value

Currently hs-CRP testing has not been compared to traditional risk assessment approaches utilized for CVD.   Much more information is needed before comparisons can be made regarding what, if any extent hs-CRP testing provides extra prediction of CVD beyond all the major risk factors combined.   Knowledge of the hs-CRP testing result may encourage changes in lifestyle that may promote heart health. 

Cost

Little Value

The cost of hs-CRP testing for cardiovascular disease is approximately $60-$150, depending on which laboratory is used.

The cost may or may not be covered by your health benefits plan.

Sources

The following are off-site links off-site link :

American Academy of Family Physicians. (2014, January). Summary of recommendations for clinical preventive services. Retrieved March 25. 2014 from http://www.aafp.org/dam/AAFP/documents/patient_care/clinical_recommendations/cps-recommendations.pdf.

MedlinePlus. (2011, February). C-reactive protein. Retrieved March 5. 2013 from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003356.htm.

U. s. Preventive Services Task Force. (2009, December). C-reactive protein as a risk factor for coronary artery disease. Retrieved March 25. 2014 from http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf09/riskcoronaryhd/coronaryhdart2.htm

Mayo Clinic. (2013, August). C-reactive protein test. Retrieved March 25, 2014 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/c-reactive-protein/basics/definition/prc-20014480

Next Review Date

3/27/2015

This document has been classified as public information.

Table of Findings

results:  little value

safety:  moderate value

comparison:  little value

cost: little value


total: little value

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Page modified:March 31, 2014