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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1993 Sep;117(9):906-10.

Effect of patient age on tests of the acute-phase response.

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Department of Haematology, Medical School, University of Birmingham, England.


Tests of the acute-phase response are used to screen for occult disease in the elderly, but there is little consensus as to their diagnostic value because of uncertainty as to the effect of age on reference ranges. We have therefore measured, as a function of age, the blood concentration of acute-phase proteins (C-reactive protein, alpha 1-acid glycoprotein, fibrinogen, albumin, and globulin) in parallel with three screening tests of the acute-phase response (erythrocyte sedimentation rate, plasma viscosity, and zeta sedimentation ratio). The study included 164 healthy individuals (age range, 25 to 84 years) plus 91 elderly ill but ambulant patients (age range, 65 to 84 years) from a family practitioner screening clinic. Reference ranges for the erythrocyte sedimentation rate, plasma viscosity, and zeta sedimentation ratio rose with age, with the erythrocyte sedimentation rate showing a particularly wide reference range. Healthy individuals aged 75 to 84 years, compared with those aged 65 to 74 years, showed a trend to a lower reference range for all three screening tests that may have reflected survival of the fittest individuals to the higher decade. Precise reference ranges are therefore required in the elderly; when these were used, the three screening tests showed a significant difference between elderly well and ill individuals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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