Why it's doneBy Mayo Clinic staff
A C-reactive protein (CRP) test checks for inflammation. Your doctor may order a CRP test to monitor:
- Coronary artery disease risk
- Damage from a heart attack
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Some forms of arthritis
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Infection after surgery
CRP tests for heart disease
CRP may be a risk factor for heart disease. It's thought that as coronary arteries narrow, you'll have more CRP in your blood. A CRP test can't tell your doctor exactly where the inflammation is, though, so it's possible that a high CRP level could mean there's inflammation somewhere in your body other than your heart.
According to the American Heart Association, a CRP test is most useful for people who have an intermediate risk (a 10 to 20 percent chance) of having a heart attack within the next 10 years. This risk level, called the global risk assessment, is based on lifestyle choices, family history and current health status. People who have a low risk of having a heart attack are less likely to benefit from having a CRP test, and people who have a high risk of having a heart attack should seek treatment and preventive measures regardless of how high their CRP level is.
- Greenland P, et al. ACCF/AHA guideline for assessment of cardiovascular risk in asymptomatic adults: A report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation. 2010;122:e584.
- Using nontraditional risk factors in coronary heart disease risk assessment. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf09/riskcoronaryhd/coronaryhdrs.htm. Accessed Oct. 4, 2011.
- Morrow DA. C-reactive protein in cardiovascular disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Oct. 4, 2011.
- Morrow DA. Screening for cardiovascular disease with C-reactive protein. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Oct. 4, 2011.
- hs-CRP. Lab Tests Online. http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/hscrp/tab/test#. Accessed Oct. 4, 2011.
- Abd TT, et al. The role of C-reactive protein as a risk predictor of coronary atherosclerosis: Implications from the JUPITER trial. Current Atherosclerosis Reports. 2011;13:154.
- Laboratory reference values. C-reactive protein, high sensitivity values. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. July 2011.