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Cardiovasc Toxicol. 2001;1(2):153-7.

C-reactive protein and coronary heart disease: diagnostic and therapeutic implications for primary prevention.

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  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston MA 02115, USA.


Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in the industrialized world. Recent laboratory and clinical studies have shown that inflammation plays a pivotal role in the inception, progression, and destabilization of atheromas. The acute-phase reactant C-reactive protein (CRP) has been shown to reflect systemic and, perhaps, vascular inflammation and to predict future cardiovascular events in asymptomatic individuals. The relative risk associated with CRP is independent of other cardiovascular disease risk factors. High-sensitivity assays (hs-CRP) are needed for the measurement of CRP concentration for the purpose of predicting the risk of future coronary events. Available assays must be standardized because patients' results will be interpreted using population-based cutpoints. An algorithm for risk stratification incorporating hs-CRP and total cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio has been developed. Statin class drugs and aspirin appear to modulate CHD risk in those with increased hs-CRP concentration. Several prospective studies are now underway to specifically develop novel clinical utilities and therapeutic strategies for hs-CRP.

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