Sepsis is the main cause of morbidity and mortality in intensive care units and its early diagnosis is not straightforward. Many studies have evaluated the usefulness of various markers of infection, including C-reactive protein (CRP), which is the most accessible and widely used. CRP is of weak diagnostic value because of its low specificity; a better understanding of patterns of CRP levels associated with a particular form of infection may improve its usefulness as a sepsis marker. In the present article, we apply multilevel modeling techniques and mixed linear models to CRP-related data to assess the time course of CRP blood levels in association with clinical outcome in children with different septic conditions.
We performed a retrospective analysis of 99 patients with systemic inflammatory response syndrome, sepsis, or septic shock who were admitted to the Pediatric Critical Care Unit at the University Hospital, Brno. CRP blood levels were monitored for 10 days following the onset of the septic condition. The effect of different septic conditions and of the surgical or nonsurgical diagnosis on CRP blood levels was statistically analyzed using mixed linear models with a multilevel modeling approach.
A significant effect of septic condition and diagnosis on the course of CRP levels was identified. In patients who did not progress to septic shock, CRP blood levels decreased rapidly after reaching peak values – in contrast to the values in patients with septic shock in whom CRP protein levels decreased slowly. Moreover, CRP levels in patients with a surgical diagnosis were higher than in patients with a nonsurgical condition. The magnitude of this additional elevation in surgical patients did not depend on the septic condition.
Understanding the pattern of change in levels of CRP associated with a particular condition may improve its diagnostic and prognostic value in children with sepsis.
The aim of this study was to investigate C-reactive protein (CRP), measured by a highly sensitive method (hsCRP) in non-infected newborns and in those with suspected early onset bacterial infection (EOBI) as well as to test whether EOBI would be detectable earlier by hsCRP than by a nephelometric CRP (nsCRP) assay (thresholds > 10 mg/l) or IL-8.
Patients and Methods
106 neonates with signs of infection comprised the suspected EOBI group. 134 neonates with risk factors but confirmed exclusion of EOBI served as non-infected controls.
In the non-infected group, hsCRP in the first 6 h after birth was low (0.7 mg/l; SD 0.16 mg/l) but showed an increase to 4.11 mg/l (SD 3.33 mg/l) at 72 h (p < 0.001 vs. 6 h). The sensitivity of hsCRP (cut-off 0.3 mg/l) vs. nsCRP for EOBI was 0.46 vs. 0.23 at 6 h after clinical suspicion. Of all parameters measured, IL-8 had the highest sensitivity and specificity to detect EOBI at 6 h (0.60 and 0.90), but declined after 12 and 24 h.
Lowering the CRP detection threshold by a highly sensitive assay did not improve diagnostic accuracy for EOBI.
Neonate; Infection; High sensitivity C-reactive protein
Blood C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is routinely measured to gauge inflammation and in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), heightened CRP is predictive of a poor outcome and lowered CRP indicative of a positive response to therapy. CRP interacts with the innate and adaptive immune systems in ways that suggest it may be causal in RA and, although this is not proven, it is widely assumed CRP makes a detrimental contribution to the disease process. Paradoxically, animal studies indicate CRP might be beneficial in RA.
We compared the impact of CRP deficiency versus transgenic over-expression on the inflammatory and immune responses using CRP deficient mice (Crp−/−) versus human CRP transgenic mice (CRPTg), respectively, and we compared the susceptibility of wild type, Crp−/−, and CRPtg to collagen-induced arthritis (CIA), a disease that resembles RA in humans.
CRP deficiency significantly altered the inflammatory cytokine response evoked by challenge with endotoxin or anti-CD3 antibody, and heightened some immune responses. Compared to CIA in wild type mice, CIA in Crp−/− progressed more rapidly and was more severe whereas CIA in CRPTg was dramatically attenuated. Despite these disparate clinical outcomes, anti-collagen autoantibody responses during CIA did not differ among the genotypes.
CRP exerts an early and beneficial effect in mice with CIA. The mechanism of this effect remains unknown but does not involve improvement of the autoantibody profile. In humans the presumed detrimental role of heightened blood CRP during active RA might be balanced by a beneficial effect of baseline CRP manifest during the pre-clinical stages of disease.
Early identification of neonatal sepsis is a global issue because of limitations in diagnostic procedures. The objective of this study was to compare the diagnostic accuracy of neutrophil CD64 and C-reactive protein (CRP) as a single test for the early detection of neonatal sepsis.
A prospective study enrolled newborns with documented sepsis (n=11), clinical sepsis (n=12) and control newborns (n=14). CRP, neutrophil CD64, complete blood counts and blood culture were taken at the time of the suspected sepsis for the documented or clinical group and at the time of venipuncture for laboratory tests in control newborns. Neutrophil CD64 was analyzed by flow cytometry.
CD64 was significantly elevated in the groups with documented or clinical sepsis, whereas CRP was not significantly increased compared with controls. For documented sepsis, CD64 and CRP had a sensitivity of 91% and 9%, a specificity of 83% and 83%, a positive predictive value of 83% and 33% and a negative predictive value of 91% and 50%, respectively, with a cutoff value of 3.0 mg/dL for CD64 and 1.0 mg/dL for CRP. The area under the receiver-operating characteristic curves for CD64 index and CRP were 0.955 and 0.527 (P<0.01), respectively.
These preliminary data show that diagnostic accuracy of CD64 is superior to CRP when measured at the time of suspected sepsis, which implies that CD64 is a more reliable marker for the early identification of neonatal sepsis as a single determination compared with CRP.
Neutrophil CD64; C-reactive protein; Neonatal sepsis
Early onset bacterial sepsis is a feared complication of the newborn. A large proportion of infants admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for suspected sepsis receive treatment with potent systemic antibiotics while a diagnostic workup is in progress. The gold standard for detecting bacterial sepsis is blood culture. However, as pathogens in blood cultures are only detected in approximately 25% of patients, the sensitivity of blood culture is suspected to be low. Therefore, the diagnosis of sepsis is often based on the development of clinical signs, in combination with laboratory tests such as a rise in C – reactive protein (CRP). Molecular assays for the detection of bacterial DNA in the blood represent possible new diagnostic tools for early identification of a bacterial cause.
A broad range 16S rDNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) without preincubation was compared to conventional diagnostic work up for clinical sepsis, including BACTEC blood culture, for early determination of bacterial sepsis in the newborn. In addition, the relationship between known risk factors, clinical signs, and laboratory parameters considered in clinical sepsis in the newborn were explored.
Forty-eight infants with suspected sepsis were included in this study. Thirty-one patients were diagnosed with sepsis, only 6 of these had a positive blood culture. 16S rDNA PCR analysis of blinded blood samples from the 48 infants revealed 10 samples positive for the presence of bacterial DNA. PCR failed to be positive in 2 samples from blood culture positive infants, and was positive in 1 sample where a diagnosis of a non-septic condition was established. Compared to blood culture the diagnosis of bacterial proven sepsis by PCR revealed a 66.7% sensitivity, 87.5% specificity, 95.4% positive and 75% negative predictive value. PCR combined with blood culture revealed bacteria in 35.1% of the patients diagnosed with sepsis. Irritability and feeding difficulties were the clinical signs most often observed in sepsis. CRP increased in the presence of bacterial infection.
There is a need for PCR as a method to quickly point out the infants with sepsis. However, uncertainty about a bacterial cause of sepsis was not reduced by the PCR result, reflecting that methodological improvements are required in order for DNA detection to replace or supplement traditional blood culture in diagnosis of bacterial sepsis.
C-reactive protein (CRP) is a real-time and low-cost biomarker to distinguish febrile bacterial infections from non-bacterial febrile illnesses. We hypothesised that measuring the velocity of the biomarker instead of its absolute serum concentration could enhance its ability to differentiate between these two conditions.
We prospectively recruited adult patients (age ≥ 18 years) who presented to the emergency department with fever. We recorded their data regarding the onset of fever and accompanying symptoms. CRP measurements were obtained upon admission. CRP velocity (CRPv) was defined as the ratio between CRP on admission and the number of hours since the onset of fever. Patients were diagnosed by clinical symptoms, blood cultures and imaging studies, and the diagnoses were confirmed by an infectious disease specialist. The efficacy of CRPv as a diagnostic marker was evaluated by using receiver operator curves (ROC). Excluded were patients who did not know the time fever started with certainty, patients with malignancy, patients with HIV infection and patients who had been using antibiotics upon presentation.
Of 178 eligible patients, 108 (60.7%) had febrile bacterial infections (mean CRP: 63.77 mg/L, mean CRPv: 3.61 mg/L/hour) and 70 (39.3%) had non-bacterial febrile illnesses (mean CRP: 23.2 mg/L, mean CRPv: 0.41 mg/L/hour). The area under the curve for CRP and CRPv were 0.783 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.717 to 0.850) and 0.871 (95% CI = 0.817 to 0.924), respectively. In a 122-patient subgroup with a CRP level of less than 100 mg/L, the area under the curve increased from 0.689 (95% CI = 0.0595 to 0.782) to 0.842 (95% CI = 0.77 to 0.914) by using the CRPv measurements.
CRPv improved differentiation between febrile bacterial infections and non-bacterial febrile illnesses compared with CRP alone, and could identify individuals who need prompt therapeutic intervention.
C-reactive protein [CRP] levels increase to hundreds of mg/mL within hours following infection. Studies have shown that serum CRP levels were elevated in periodontal disease. However, in all the previous studies, CRP levels were measured by using high-sensitivity CRP assay kits with minimal detection limits of 0.1 to 3 mg/L, which was much below the normal value of 10 mg/L. These high-sensitivity CRP assays need a proper laboratory setup, and these methods cannot be used as a routine chair-side test in the dental office.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the serum CRP levels in subjects with periodontal disease by using a rapid chair-side diagnostic test kit with a lower detection limit of 6 mg/L and to compare the CRP levels before and after periodontal therapy.
Materials and Methods:
A total of 45 systemically healthy subjects were selected for the study. Subjects were divided into three groups: group A: healthy controls, group B: gingivitis, group C: periodontitis. Serum levels of CRP were determined by using a latex slide agglutination method with commercially available kit with lower detection limit of 6 mg/L.
CRP was negative in all the 15 subjects in groups A and B at baseline, 7th and 30th day. CRP was positive only in 2 subjects in Group C at baseline and 7th day.
Estimation of serum CRP by using a rapid chair-side diagnostic test kit is not of any significance in subjects with periodontitis.
C-reactive protein; periodontal disease; chair-side diagnostic kit
Endometriosis is associated with chronic subclinical inflammation. C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation, could serve as a biomarker of endometriosis. We tested the hypothesis that a high sensitivity CRP assay (hsCRP) is more accurate than a classical CRP assay in the detection of subclinical inflammation in plasma of women with endometriosis.
CRP levels were measured by hsCRP and classical CRP assays in plasma of 204 women with endometriosis and 91 women without endometriosis. Both assays were compared with respect to their value for the diagnosis of endometriosis.
The number of plasma samples with detectable CRP was significantly higher (100%) using the hsCRP assay when compared to the classical CRP assay (42.7%) (p < 0.0001). Significantly increased CRP plasma levels were found in women with endometriosis when compared with controls when the hsCRP assay was used in samples obtained during the luteal phase (p = 0.008). The highest discriminative ability for the diagnosis of endometriosis was also obtained using the hsCRP assay during the luteal phase, especially for moderate -severe endometriosis. At a cut-off level of hsCRP > 0.71 mg/L, moderate-severe stages were diagnosed with 80.7% sensitivity and 63.9% specificity during the luteal phase. Using a similar cut-off value for CRP analyzed by the classical method, moderate-severe endometriosis was diagnosed with lower sensitivity (67.7%, p = 0.06) and comparable specificity (63.9%).
The hsCRP assay was superior to the classical CRP assay for the detection of low CRP levels and for revealing subclinical inflammation in plasma of women with endometriosis.
C-reactive protein (CRP) has been shown to be a valuable marker in the diagnosis of infection and in monitoring its response to antibiotics. Our objective was to evaluate serial CRP measurements after prescription of antibiotics to describe the clinical course of Community-Acquired Sepsis admitted to intensive care units (ICU).
During a 12-month period a multi-center, prospective, observational study was conducted, segregating adults with Community-Acquired Sepsis. Patients were followed-up during the first five ICU days, day of ICU discharge or death and hospital outcome. CRP-ratio was calculated in relation to Day 1 CRP concentration. Patients were classified according to the pattern of CRP-ratio response to antibiotics: fast response if Day 5 CRP-ratio was < 0.4, slow response if Day 5 CRP-ratio was between 0.4 and 0.8, and no response if Day 5 CRP-ratio was > 0.8. Comparison between survivors and non-survivors was performed.
A total of 891 patients (age 60 ± 17 yrs, hospital mortality 38%) were studied. There were no significant differences between the CRP of survivors and non-survivors until Day 2 of antibiotic therapy. On the following three days, CRP of survivors was significantly lower (P < 0.001). After adjusting for the Simplified Acute Physiology Score II and severity of sepsis, the CRP course was significantly associated with mortality (ORCRP-ratio = 1.03, confidence interval 95%= (1.02, 1.04), P < 0.001). The hospital mortality of patients with fast response, slow response and no response patterns was 23%, 30% and 41%, respectively (P = 0.001). No responders had a significant increase on the odds of death (OR = 2.5, CI95% = (1.6, 4.0), P < 0.001) when compared with fast responders.
Daily CRP measurements after antibiotic prescription were useful as early as Day 3 in identification of Community-Acquired Sepsis patients with poor outcome. The rate of CRP decline during the first five ICU days was markedly associated with prognosis. The identification of the pattern of CRP-ratio response was useful in the recognition of the individual clinical course.
The relationship between histological chorioamnionitis and haematological and biochemical markers in mothers and infants at delivery, and in infants postnatally, is incompletely characterised. These markers are widely used in the diagnosis of maternal and neonatal infection. Our objective was to investigate the effects of histological chorioamnionitis (HCA) on haematological and biochemical inflammatory markers in mothers and infants at delivery, and in infants post-delivery.
Two hundred and forty seven mothers, delivering 325 infants, were recruited at the only tertiary perinatal centre in Western Australia. Placentae were assessed for evidence of HCA using a semi-quantitative scoring system. Maternal high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), procalcitonin, and umbilical cord hsCRP, procalcitonin, white cell count and absolute neutrophil count were measured at delivery. In infants where sepsis was clinically suspected, postnatal CRP, white cell count and absolute neutrophil count were measured up to 48 hours of age. The effect of HCA on maternal, cord and neonatal markers was evaluated by multivariable regression analysis.
The median gestational age was 34 weeks and HCA was present in 26 of 247 (10.5%) placentae. Mothers whose pregnancies were complicated by HCA had higher hsCRP (median 26 (range 2–107) versus 5.6 (0–108) mg/L; P<0.001). Histological chorioamnionitis was associated with higher umbilical cord hsCRP (75th percentile 2.91 mg/L (range 0–63.9) versus 75th percentile 0 mg/L (0–45.6); P<0.001) and procalcitonin (median 0.293 (range 0.05–27.37) versus median 0.064 (range 0.01–5.24) ug/L; P<0.001), with a sustained increase in neonatal absolute neutrophil count (median 4.5 (0.1–26.4)×109/L versus 3.0 (0.1–17.8)×109/L), and CRP up to 48 hours post-partum (median 10 versus 6.5 mg/L) (P<0.05 for each).
Histological chorioamnionitis is associated with modest systemic inflammation in maternal and cord blood. These systemic changes may increase postnatally, potentially undermining their utility in the diagnosis of early-onset neonatal infection.
Mesenteric fat hyperplasia is a hallmark of Crohn's disease (CD), and C reactive protein (CRP) is correlated with disease activity. The authors investigated whether mesenteric adipocytes may be a source of CRP in CD and whether inflammatory and bacterial triggers may stimulate its production by adipocytes.
CRP expression in the mesenteric and subcutaneous fats of patients with CD and the correlation between CRP plasma concentrations and mesenteric messenger RNA (mRNA) levels were assessed. The impact of inflammatory and bacterial challenges on CRP synthesis was tested using an adipocyte cell line. Bacterial translocation to mesenteric fat was studied in experimental models of colitis and ileitis and in patients with CD.
CRP expression was increased in the mesenteric fat of patients with CD, with mRNA levels being 80±40 (p<0.05) and 140±65 (p=0.04) times higher than in the mesenteric fat of patients with ulcerative colitis and in the subcutaneous fat of the same CD subjects, respectively, and correlated with plasma levels. Escherichia coli (1230±175-fold, p<0.01), lipopolysaccharide (26±0.5-fold, p<0.01), tumour necrosis factor α (15±0.3-fold, p<0.01) and interleukin-6 (10±0.7-fold, p<0.05) increased CRP mRNA levels in adipocyte 3T3-L1 cells. Bacterial translocation to mesenteric fat occurred in 13% and 27% of healthy and CD subjects, respectively, and was increased in experimental colitis and ileitis. Human mesenteric adipocytes constitutively expressed mRNA for TLR2, TLR4, NOD1 and NOD2.
Mesenteric fat is an important source of CRP in CD. CRP production by mesenteric adipocytes may be triggered by local inflammation and bacterial translocation to mesenteric fat, providing a mechanism whereby mesenteric fat hyperplasia may contribute to inflammatory response in CD.
C Reactive protein; mesenteric fat; bacterial translocation; Crohn's disease; IBD basic research; 6-mercaptopurine; bacterial translocation; IBD; thiopurine methyltransferase; antibacterial peptide; IBD models; azathioprine; IBD clinical; 2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid; acute hepatitis; alcoholic liver disease; anti-bacterial mucosal immunity; gut inflammation; anti-bacterial peptide; antibiotic therapy; antibiotics: clinical trials; bacteraemia; bacterial overgrowth; bacterial translocation; bacterial infection; bacterial pathogenesis; bacterial adherence; crohn's disease; TNF-alpha; ulcerative colitis; small intestine; cell biology; inflammatory bowel disease; mucosal immunology; Helicobacter pylori; non-ulcer dyspepsia; genetic polymorphisms; gastric neoplasia; non-alcoholic steatohepatitis; gut inflammation; alcoholic liver disease; cytokines
Residual inflammation at ICU discharge may have impact upon long-term mortality. However, the significance of ongoing inflammation on mortality after ICU discharge is poorly described. C-reactive protein (CRP) and albumin are measured frequently in the ICU and exhibit opposing patterns during inflammation. Since infection is a potent trigger of inflammation, we hypothesized that CRP levels at discharge would correlate with long-term mortality in septic patients and that the CRP/albumin ratio would be a better marker of prognosis than CRP alone.
We evaluated 334 patients admitted to the ICU as a result of severe sepsis or septic shock who were discharged alive after a minimum of 72 hours in the ICU. We evaluated the performance of both CRP and CRP/albumin to predict mortality at 90 days after ICU discharge. Two multivariate logistic models were generated based on measurements at discharge: one model included CRP (Model-CRP), and the other included the CRP/albumin ratio (Model-CRP/albumin).
There were 229 (67%) and 111 (33%) patients with severe sepsis and septic shock, respectively. During the 90 days of follow-up, 73 (22%) patients died. CRP/albumin ratios at admission and at discharge were associated with a poor outcome and showed greater accuracy than CRP alone at these time points (p = 0.0455 and p = 0.0438, respectively). CRP levels and the CRP/albumin ratio were independent predictors of mortality at 90 days (Model-CRP: adjusted OR 2.34, 95% CI 1.14–4.83, p = 0.021; Model-CRP/albumin: adjusted OR 2.18, 95% CI 1.10–4.67, p = 0.035). Both models showed similar accuracy (p = 0.2483). However, Model-CRP was not calibrated.
Residual inflammation at ICU discharge assessed using the CRP/albumin ratio is an independent risk factor for mortality at 90 days in septic patients. The use of the CRP/albumin ratio as a long-term marker of prognosis provides more consistent results than standard CRP values alone.
C reactive protein (CRP) is a known indicator of inflammation. Serum CRP is often raised in patients with inflammatory conditions.
To determine whether individuals make antibodies to CRP and whether this might affect serum CRP concentrations. Methods: An enzyme linked immunosorbent assay was developed for the detection of antibodies to CRP. Specificity of the reaction was determined by inhibition of the reaction.
Sera from 413 patients were tested and 25 were found to be positive, particularly in patients with rheumatic diseases. Levels of anti‐CRP did not correlate with serum CRP levels.
The presence of low CRP levels may not reflect the presence of antibodies to CRP.
anti‐CRP; C reactive protein
We studied prospectively 154 febrile children to determine the diagnostic value of the quantitative serum C reactive protein concentrations (CRP). Children with acute otitis media, acute tonsillitis, or treated with antibiotics during the two previous weeks and infants less than 2 months of age were excluded. Ninety seven children were from private paediatric practice and 57 were patients who had been admitted to hospital. The comparison group consisted of 75 children with confirmed bacterial infections whose CRP values were recorded retrospectively. In the study group 35 (23%) children had a confirmed viral infection, 92 (59%) had a probable viral infection as judged from the clinical picture and outcome of the illness, and 27 (18%) had a bacterial or probable bacterial infection. When the duration of the disease was more than 12 hours and the CRP value less than 20 mg/l, all children had a confirmed or probable viral infection. Nine children (one from the study group and eight from the comparison group) were found to have a septic infection and a CRP value of 20 mg/l or less. In all these cases, however, the duration of the symptoms was less than 12 hours. In addition CRP less than or equal to 20 mg/l was found in five (14%) children with urinary tract infection in the comparison group. CRP values of 20-40 mg/l were recorded in children with both viral and bacterial infections. A CRP value greater than or equal to 40 mg/l detected 79% of bacterial infections with 90% specificity. Our data show that determination of serum CRP concentrations is a valuable tool in evaluating children who have been ill for more than 12 hours.
Respiratory tract infections are the most common indication for antibiotic prescribing in primary care. The value of clinical findings in lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) is known to be overrated. This study aimed to determine the independent influence of a point of care test (POCT) for C-reactive protein (CRP) on the prescription of antibiotics in patients with acute cough or symptoms suggestive of LRTI, and how symptoms and chest findings influence the decision to prescribe when the test is and is not used.
Prospective observational study of presentation and management of acute cough/LRTI in adults.
Primary care research networks in Norway, Sweden, and Wales.
Adult patients contacting their GP with symptoms of acute cough/LRTI.
Main outcome measures
Predictors of antibiotic prescribing were evaluated in those tested and those not tested with a POCT for CRP using logistic regression and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis.
A total of 803 patients were recruited in the three networks. Among the 372 patients tested with a POCT for CRP, the CRP value was the strongest independent predictor of antibiotic prescribing, with an odds ratio (OR) of CRP ≥ 50 mg/L of 98.1. Crackles on auscultation and a patient preference for antibiotics perceived by the GP were the strongest predictors of antibiotic prescribing when the CRP test was not used.
The CRP result is a major influence in the decision whether or not to prescribe antibiotics for acute cough. Clinicians attach less weight to discoloured sputum and abnormal lung sounds when a CRP value is available. CRP testing could prevent undue reliance on clinical features that poorly predict benefit from antibiotic treatment.
Antibiotic prescribing; clinical findings; CRP; LRTI; point of care testing; primary care
In addition to the examination of clinical signs, several laboratory markers have been measured for diagnostics and monitoring of pediatric septic bone and joint infections. Traditionally erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and leukocyte cell count have been used, whereas C-reactive protein (CRP) has gained in popularity. We monitored 265 children at ages 3 months to 15 years with culture-positive osteoarticular infections with a predetermined series of ESR, CRP, and leukocyte count measurements. On admission, ESR exceeded 20 mm/hour in 94% and CRP exceeded 20 mg/L in 95% of the cases, the mean (± standard error of the mean) being 51 ± 2 mm/hour and 87 ± 4 mg/L, respectively. ESR normalized in 24 days and CRP in 10 days. Elevated CRP gave a slightly better sensitivity in diagnostics than ESR, but best sensitivity was gained with the combined use of ESR and CRP (98%). Elevated ESR or CRP was seen in all cases during the first 3 days. Measuring ESR and CRP on admission can help the clinician rule out an acute osteoarticular infection. CRP normalizes faster than ESR, providing a clear advantage in monitoring recovery.
Level of Evidence: Level II, diagnostic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
The search for a suitable biomarker which indicates immune system responses in cancer patients has been long and arduous, but a widely known biomarker has emerged as a potential candidate for this purpose. C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is an acute-phase plasma protein that can be used as a marker for activation of the immune system. The short plasma half-life and relatively robust and reliable response to inflammation, make CRP an ideal candidate marker for inflammation. The high- sensitivity test for CRP, termed Low-Reactive Protein (LRP, L-CRP or hs-CRP), measures very low levels of CRP more accurately, and is even more reliable than standard CRP for this purpose. Usually, static sampling of CRP has been used for clinical studies and these can predict disease presence or recurrence, notably for a number of cancers. We have used frequent serial L-CRP measurements across three clinical laboratories in two countries and for different advanced cancers, and have demonstrated similar, repeatable observations of a cyclical variation in CRP levels in these patients. We hypothesise that these L-CRP oscillations are part of a homeostatic immune response to advanced malignancy and have some preliminary data linking the timing of therapy to treatment success. This article reviews CRP, shows some of our data and advances the reasoning for the hypothesis that explains the CRP cycles in terms of homeostatic immune regulatory cycles. This knowledge might also open the way for improved timing of treatment(s) for improved clinical efficacy.
Delayed diagnosis has contributed to the high mortality of sputum smear-negative tuberculosis (SNTB) in high HIV prevalence countries. New diagnostic strategies for SNTB are urgently needed. C-reactive protein (CRP) is a non-specific inflammatory protein that is usually elevated in patients with tuberculosis, but its role in the diagnosis of tuberculosis is uncertain.
To determine the diagnostic utility of CRP we prospectively evaluated the performance of CRP as a screening test for SNTB in symptomatic ambulatory tuberculosis suspects followed up for 8 weeks in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Confirmed tuberculosis was defined as positive culture or acid-fast bacilli with granulomata on histology, and possible tuberculosis as documented response to antitubercular therapy. The CRP quotient was defined as a multiple of the upper limit of normal of the serum CRP result. Three hundred and sixty four participants fulfilled entry criteria: 135 (37%) with confirmed tuberculosis, 114 (39%) with possible tuberculosis, and 115 (24%) without tuberculosis. The median CRP quotient was 15.4 (IQR 7.2; 23.3) in the confirmed tuberculosis group, 5.8 (IQR 1.4; 16.0) in the group with possible tuberculosis, and 0.7 (IQR 0.2; 2.2) in the group without tuberculosis (p<0.0001). The CRP quotient above the upper limit of normal had sensitivity 0.98 (95% CI 0.94; 0.99), specificity 0.59 (95% CI 0.50; 0.68), positive predictive value 0.74 (95% CI 0.67; 0.80), negative predictive value 0.96 (95% CI 0.88; 0.99), and diagnostic odds ratio 63.7 (95% CI 19.1; 212.0) in the confirmed tuberculosis group compared with the group without tuberculosis. Higher CRP quotients improved specificity at the expense of sensitivity.
In high HIV prevalence settings a normal CRP could be a useful test in combination with clinical evaluation to rule out tuberculosis in ambulatory patients. Point-of-care CRP should be further evaluated in primary care clinics.
BACKGROUND: Infection in the neonatal period is an extremely serious condition and diagnosis is difficult. C-reactive protein (CRP) is widely used as a marker of infection; however, its usefulness is limited in the early phase. The role of soluble intracellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1), an adhesion molecule, has been examined in recent studies as an early marker of neonatal infection with controversial results. AIM: Assessment of sICAM-1 concentrations and correlation with CRP, which is the currently used marker of infection, in order to use sICAM as an early diagnostic tool in neonates suspected for infection METHODS: Blood samples and blood cultures were obtained from two groups of pre-term and full-term neonates with clinical suspicion of infection prior to the initiation of antibiotics. The sICAM-1 and CRP values were compared with the corresponding noninfected ones (n = 10 each). RESULTS: The sICAM-1 levels were found increased in the group of both premature and term neonates with infection compared with the corresponding healthy ones (P < 0.0001). Prematurity combined with infection resulted in excessive increase of the levels of sICAM-1 in comparison with full-term infected newborns (p < 0.001). CRP values were normal in all samples except one in both full-term and premature infected neonates on day 1 of clinically suspected infection. Serial detection of CRP values on days 2 and 4 of infection revealed a pattern according to which CRP values in premature neonates continued rising, while in the group of full terms these values, after rising on the second day, lowered on day 4. CONCLUSIONS: Increased sICAM-1 levels can be detected early in both full-term and premature neonates with sepsis while CRP levels are within normal range at the same time. Assessment of sICAM-1 concentrations may be used as a diagnostic tool in neonates suspected for infection, resulting in earlier initiation of antibiotic therapy and therefore improving their outcome.
Background: High C-reactive protein (CRP) values are frequently found in patients with bacterial respiratory infection, and CRP testing has been shown to be useful in differentiating pneumonia from other respiratory infections. Raised CRP values may also be found in viral respiratory infection, and as a result there is a risk that antibiotics may be wrongly prescribed.
Aims: To describe the course of the CRP response during untreated upper respiratory tract infections and associations between the development of CRP values, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and respiratory symptoms.
Design of study: Prospective study.
Setting: Seven general practices in northern Norway.
Method: Patients with upper respiratory tract infection aged 16 years or over, who were not treated with antibiotics and who had been ill for no more than 3 days, were recruited. Microbiological examinations were undertaken, together with measurements of CRP, ESR and recording of symptoms daily during the first week of illness and on days 10, 14 and 21.
Results: An aetiological agent was established in 23 of the 41 included subjects. These were: influenza A, influenza B, rhinovirus, and other agents. Among the 15 patients examined on both the second and the third day of illness, the median CRP value increased from 7–10 mg/l, and the mean value was from 19–24 mg/l between day 2 and day 3. Peak CRP values were reached on days 2 to 4. Higher CRP values were found in those infected with influenza A and B than in the other subjects (P<0.001). A CRP value >10 mg/l was found in 26 subjects during the first 7 days, compared to five subjects after 1 week. Evidence of a secondary infection with group A streptococci was found in two of these five subjects. The development of the symptoms of sore throat, fatigue, clamminess, and pain from muscles and joints followed a similar course as the CRP response, while stuffy nose, cough, sputum production, and dyspnoea tended to persist after the CRP values had approached the normal range.
Conclusion: A moderately elevated CRP value (10–60 mg/l) is a common finding in viral upper respiratory tract infection, with a peak during days 2–4 of illness. Moderately elevated CRP values cannot support a diagnosis of bacterial infection when the illness has lasted less than 7 days, but may indicate a complication of viral infection after a week.
antibiotics; common cold; cough; C-reactive protein; erythrocyte sedimentation rate; influenza; upper respiratory infections
Procalcitonin (PCT) is an inflammatory marker that has been used as indicator of severe bacterial infection. We evaluated the concentrations of PCT as a marker for systemic infection compared to C-reactive protein (CRP) in patients neutropenic febrile.
52 adult patients were enrolled in the study. Blood sample was collected in order to determine the serum concentrations of PCT, CRP and other hematological parameters at the onset of fever. The patients were divided into 2 groups, one with severe infection (n = 26) and the other in which the patients did not present such an infection (n = 26). Then PCT and CRP concentrations at the fever onset were compared between groups using non parametric statistical tests, ROC curve, sensitivity, specificity, likelihood ratio, and Spearman's correlation coefficient.
The mean of PCT was significantly higher in the group with severe infection (6.7 ng/mL versus 0.6 ng/mL – p = 0.0075) comparing with CRP. Serum concentrations of 0.245 ng/mL of PCT displayed 100% de sensitivity and 69.2% specificity. PCT concentrations of 2,145 ng/mL presented a likelihood ratio of 13, which was not observed for any concentration of CRP.
PCT seems to be an useful marker for the diagnosis of systemic infection in febrile neutropenic patients, probably better than CRP.
Background: Symptoms of bacterial sinusitis overlap with viral sinusitis, and it is difficult to distinguish between the two conditions based only on a clinical examination. Uncertain diagnosis results in the significant overuse of antibiotics, which is considered to be one of the most important reasons for development of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. A raised C-reactive protein (CRP) level is an indicator of bacterial infection and the CRP rapid test has been shown to be useful for the diagnosis of bacterial sinusitis in general practice.
Aims: To examine whether general practitioners (GPs) who use the CRP rapid test in their practice have a lower antibiotic prescribing rate for sinusitis than GPs who do not use the test.
Design of study: Observational design.
Setting: General practice in Denmark.
Method: A group of GPs registered all contacts (n = 17 792) with patients who had respiratory tract infections during a 3-week period between 1 November 2001 and 31 January 2002. GPs who used a CRP rapid test were compared with GPs who did not, and the treatment of their patients (n = 1444) with suspected sinusitis was compared.
Results: A CRP rapid test was used by 77% (n = 281) of the GPs. In the group of GPs using a CRP rapid test, the rate of antibiotic prescribing was 59% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 56 to 62) compared with 78% (95% CI = 73 to 82) in the group of GPs who did not use a CRP test. Performing a CRP rapid test was the factor that exerted the greatest influence on whether the patients were prescribed antibiotics, and the level of CRP had a strong influence on the prescribing rate.
Conclusion: The CRP rapid test has a substantial influence on the treatment of sinusitis, and implementing the test in general practice may lead to a reduction in antibiotic prescribing to patients with sinusitis.
antibiotics; C-reactive protein; general practice; sinusitis
C-reactive protein (CRP) is an indicator of inflammation, and is often used in the diagnosis of bacterial infections. It is poorly known whether CRP in bacterial infection is age-dependent.
Adult patients with a positive blood culture with E. coli or S. pneumoniae during 1994–2004 were included. CRP measured on the same date as the blood cultures were drawn (CRP1), 2–3 days (CRP2) and 4–7 days later (CRP3), were retrieved. The patients were divided into three age groups, < 65, 65–84, and ≥ 85, respectively. We studied three cut-off values for CRP and produced age-specific receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curves, using patients with acute coronary or cerebral infarction as controls.
890 patients and 421 controls were available. There was a statistically significant negative correlation between age and CRP1 – 0.072 (p = 0.032). The median CRP1 and CRP2 were significantly higher in the youngest age group. The area under the ROC-curve for the youngest age group was significantly greater than that of the two other age groups, but we found no statistically significant differences in sensitivity related to age. The diagnostic sensitivity of CRP was better for S. pneumoniae than for E. coli, 92.6% vs. 88.0% (p = 0.046) for a cut-off value of 40 mg/L, and 82.4% vs. 61.5% (p =< 0.01) for a cut-off value of 120 mg/L.
CRP is better in identifying infection with S. pneumoniae than with E. coli. We found a weakening of the CRP-response with age, but this is hardly of clinical significance.
BACKGROUND: Sore throat or pharyngitis is an extremely prevalent condition in primary care. There is a diagnostic dilemma in differentiating bacterial and non-bacterial infections for adequate use of antibiotics. Standard diagnostic procedures take too long for an immediate decision. AIM: To evaluate, if near patient C-reactive protein measurement in the general practice surgery improves diagnostic accuracy. METHOD: One hundred and seventy-nine consecutive patients with sore throat, from 15 general practitioners (GPs) in southern Germany (phase 1) and 161 consecutive patients from 14 GPs (phase 2), were examined physically and a throat-swab was taken and white blood-cell count (WBC) and CRP-measurement were performed. In phase 1, CRP was measured centrally to assess the method's diagnostic value and the adequate threshold. In the second phase, near patient CRP was measured and CRP values were used to make a diagnosis. RESULTS: Using relative operating characteristics (ROC) analysis, the diagnostic value of CRP measurement was much better than WBC count (area under curve = 0.85 versus 0.68). All diagnostic parameters improved when using the near patient CRP measurement. Sensitivity went up from 0.61 (95% confidence interval = 0.45-0.75) to 0.78 (0.61-0.90), specificity went up from 0.73 (0.65-0.81) to 0.82 (0.73-0.88). Positive and negative predictive value improved significantly as well. Diagnostic accuracy went up from 70.1% to 81.0%. Out of 1000 theoretical patients with sore throat, 109 more will be treated correctly when using CRP measurement as a diagnostic tool. CONCLUSIONS: Use of near patient CRP measurement can improve diagnostic accuracy in the differentiation of bacterial and non-bacterial pharyngitis in primary care, and potentially results in a more adequate use of antibiotics.
Inflammatory processes may influence the risk of epithelial ovarian cancer, but available epidemiological evidence is limited and indirect. Circulating C-reactive protein (CRP), a sensitive marker of inflammation, may serve as a direct biological marker of an underlying association.
The association between ovarian cancer risk and pre-diagnostic circulating CRP was tested in a case–control study nested within three prospective cohorts from Sweden, USA, and Italy. The study included 237 cases and 427 individually matched controls. CRP was measured in stored blood samples by high-sensitivity immunoturbidimetric assay. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated by conditional logistic regression.
Overall, CRP was not related to risk of ovarian cancer. However, a marked increase in risk was observed for CRP concentrations > 10 mg/l: OR (95% CI) 4.4 (1.8–10.9), which remained significant after limiting analyses to cases diagnosed more than two or five years after blood donation (OR 3.0 (1.2–8.0) and 3.6 (1.0–13.2), respectively). Risk of mucinous tumors increased with high CRP, but the number of cases in this analysis was small.
Study results offer additional support to the concept that chronic inflammation plays a role in epithelial ovarian cancer.
C-reactive protein; Ovarian cancer; Inflammation; Prospective study