C-reactive protein test

The level of C-reactive protein (CRP), which can be measured in your blood, increases when there's inflammation in your body. Your doctor may check your C-reactive protein level treatment for infections or for other medical conditions.

A high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) test, which is more sensitive than a standard test, also can be used to evaluate your risk of developing coronary artery disease, a condition in which the arteries of your heart are narrowed. Coronary artery disease can eventually lead to a heart attack.

A simple blood test measures C-reactive protein. Some researchers think that treating people with high C-reactive protein levels will lessen their risk of heart attack or stroke.

However, according to the American Heart Association, this test isn't recommended for general screening for heart disease. And it might not be helpful in determining your heart attack risk, depending on your health and lifestyle choices.


Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect Results

Your doctor may order a CRP test to check for inflammation. Inflammation may indicate infection or a chronic inflammatory disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, as well as risk of heart disease.

CRP tests for heart disease

It's thought that high hs-CRP levels in your blood are associated with narrowed coronary arteries. A CRP test can't tell your doctor where the inflammation is, though, so it's possible that a high hs-CRP level could mean there's inflammation somewhere other than your heart.

According to the American Heart Association, an hs-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 an hs-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 hs-CRP level is.

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