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Circulation. 2001 Apr 3;103(13):1813-8.

High-sensitivity C-reactive protein: potential adjunct for global risk assessment in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

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  • 1Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, Divisions of Cardiovascular Diseases and Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02214, USA.


Inflammation plays a major role in atherothrombosis, and measurement of inflammatory markers such as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (HSCRP) may provide a novel method for detecting individuals at high risk of plaque rupture. Several large-scale prospective studies demonstrate that HSCRP is a strong independent predictor of future myocardial infarction and stroke among apparently healthy men and women and that the addition of HSCRP to standard lipid screening may improve global risk prediction among those with high as well as low cholesterol levels. Because agents such as aspirin and statins seem to attenuate inflammatory risk, HSCRP may also have utility in targeting proven therapies for primary prevention. Inexpensive commercial assays for HSCRP are now available; they have shown variability and classification accuracy similar to that of cholesterol screening. Risk prediction algorithms using a simple quintile approach to HSCRP evaluation have been developed for outpatient use. Thus, although limitations inherent to inflammatory screening remain, available data suggest that HSCRP has the potential to play an important role as an adjunct for global risk assessment in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

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