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Nat Clin Pract Cardiovasc Med. 2005 Jan;2(1):29-36; quiz 58.

C-reactive protein comes of age.

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  • 1Division of Cardiac Surgery, Toronto General Hospital, University of Toronto, ON, Canada.


Cardiovascular disease remains a leading cause of death throughout the world despite advances in its detection and treatment. Commonly used risk algorithms, such as the Framingham Risk Score fail to identify all affected individuals. Novel cardiovascular risk factors that identify these missed individuals would greatly improve overall care of patients. C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammatory biomarker, has emerged as a leading candidate to fulfill this role. Based on the results of several prospective epidemiologic studies, CRP has emerged as one of the most powerful predictors of cardiovascular disease. This marker provides valuable information to clinicians in various clinical settings, ranging from overt cardiovascular disease, stable angina, presenting acute coronary syndromes and peripheral vascular disease, to the metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, CRP has been demonstrated to actively contribute to all stages of atherogenesis, participating in endothelial dysfunction, atherosclerotic-plaque formation, plaque maturation, plaque destabilization and eventual rupture. Thus, it might also serve as a therapeutic target. It is our contention that the future will see much wider use of CRP and CRP-driven therapies in clinical medicine, improving our ability to identify and manage cardiovascular disease.

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