C-Reactive Protein

Other names: CRP

C-reactive protein is formed by the liver and released when the body becomes infected or inflamed. Levels of C-reactive protein occur after a heart attack and after surgery; levels are also high if the patient has sepsis. Higher levels of C-reactive protein are often the first sign of infection or inflammation in the body and may be present before symptoms become visible.

When is the test used?

The C-reactive protein test is used to test for conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune diseases, pelvic inflammatory disease and certain forms of arthritis. The CRP test may also be used after a patient has had surgery to check for infection.

The test is used as a common assessment for inflammation or infection; it cannot be used to diagnose specific conditions. Further tests can then be ordered to help doctors reach a precise diagnosis.

The test is usually ordered after a patient has had surgery or during a course of treatment for a patient who has already been diagnosed with a condition; the results of the test can assess the efficacy of the treatment.

How is the test performed?

The test is done by collecting and analysing a sample of blood, which is taken from a vein in the arm. A needle is inserted into the vein and the blood is collected in a syringe; once the sample has been collected, it will be bottled, labelled with the patient’s name and sent away to the laboratory for analysis.

What do the test results mean?

If levels of CRP are high (usually over 10mg/L), this usually indicates an acute infection or irritation. If the patient is receiving treatment for a condition and test results show that levels of CRP are decreasing, this shows that the treatment is effective.

Levels of CRP may increase in the late period of pregnancy and certain types of medication and therapies (including hormone replacement therapy) may cause levels to rise. Levels may also be higher in obese patients.

Specific Blood Tests

© Medic8® | All Rights Reserved