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).
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.
How safe is this for me?
Minor discomfort may occur at the site where a blood sample is drawn.
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.
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.
The following are off-site links :
American Academy of Family Physicians. (2011, February). Summary of recommendations for clinical preventive services. Retrieved March 5. 2013 from http://www.aafp.org/online/etc/medialib/aafp_org/documents/clinical/CPS/rcps08-2005.Par.0001.File.tmp/June2010.pdf.
MedlinePlus. (2011, February). C-reactive protein. Retrieved March 5. 2013 from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003356.htm.
JournalWatch. (2009, December). USPSTF doesn’t recommend using nontraditional risk factors for CHS risk. Retrieved March 5. 2013 from http://general-medicine.jwatch.org/cgi/content/full/2009/1203/1#.
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