Harvard Heart Letter

Spotlight on heart tests: C-reactive protein testing comes of age

Spotlight on heart tests

C-reactive protein testing comes of age

Measuring low-grade inflammation can help refine cardiovascular risk.

Blood pressure and tests for various types of cholesterol help spot hidden heart disease, but they also miss a substantial number of people who are on the road to having a heart attack or stroke. Evidence that inflammation is an integral part of atherosclerosis, the artery-clogging disease at the root of most heart attacks and strokes, is prompting the use of a new test to check for C-reactive protein (CRP). The liver makes this protein in response to infection, tissue injury, and inflammation.

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