Question: What is a blood test called CRP (C-reactive protein) and when should I get it?
Answer: CRP, or C-reactive protein, is a test that's been available actually for almost a decade now. It's a marker of inflammation, and many feel that coronary artery disease is in and of itself a disease of inflammation. There is a great deal of information that has been accrued in the last five, ten years, on the potential use of CRP as a marker for future events, such as a heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular death.
But the remaining question is: how can the information be used to change treatment? And that is something that has not been answered as yet. There are studies currently being conducted that we hope will answer that lingering question.
So at the moment, there is not a recommendation from the American Heart Association or other governing bodies in this country or outside of the United States that would suggest that everyone have a CRP, or C-reactive protein test. That particular test may be helpful for individuals that are at moderate risk over the next ten years for either a stroke, a heart attack, or cardiovascular death, where an elevation may change treatment to help protect people in the future.