The role of inflammation in the propagation of atherosclerosis and susceptibility to cardiovascular (CV) events is well established. Of the wide array of inflammatory biomarkers that have been studied, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) has received the most attention for its use in screening and risk reclassification and as a predictor of clinical response to statin therapy. Although CRP is involved in the immunologic process that triggers vascular remodeling and plaque deposition and is associated with increased CV disease (CVD) risk, definitive randomized evidence for its role as a causative factor in atherothrombosis is lacking. Whether measurement of hsCRP levels provides consistent, clinically meaningful incremental predictive value in risk prediction and reclassification beyond conventional factors remains debated. Despite publication of guidelines on the use of hsCRP in CVD risk prediction by several leading professional organizations, there is a lack of clear consensus regarding the optimal clinical use of hsCRP. This article reviews 4 distinct points from the literature to better understand the current state and application of hsCRP in clinical practice: 1) the biology of hsCRP and its role in atherosclerosis; 2) the epidemiological association of hsCRP with CVD; 3) the quality of hsCRP as a biomarker of risk; and 4) the use of hsCRP as a tool to initiate or tailor statin therapy. Furthermore, we highlight recommendations from societies and important considerations when using hsCRP to guide treatment decisions in the primary prevention setting.
- cardiovascular disease
- coronary heart disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine