C-Reactive Protein

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Also known as: CRP

Were you looking for the high-sensitivity CRP (hs-CRP) test, used to assess your risk of cardiovascular disease?

At a Glance

Why Get Tested?

To identify the presence of inflammation, to determine its severity, and to monitor response to treatment. 

When to Get Tested?

When your doctor suspects that you might be suffering from an inflammatory disorder (as with certain types of arthritis and autoimmune disorders or inflammatory bowel disease) or to check for the possibility of infection (especially after surgery)

Sample Required?

A blood sample taken from a vein in your arm

Test Preparation Needed?

None

The Test Sample

What is being tested?

C-reactive protein (CRP) is an acute phase reactant, a protein made by the liver that is released into the blood within a few hours after tissue injury, the start of an infection or other inflammation. Increased concentrations in the blood can be found after a heart attack, in sepsis, and after a surgical procedure. It is often the first evidence of inflammation or an infection in the body, with rising concentrations frequently preceding pain, fever or other clinical indicators.. The concentration of CRP in the blood can jump a thousand-fold in response to inflammation and can be valuable in monitoring disease activity.

The CRP blood test is not diagnostic but it provides information to the doctor as to whether inflammation is present. This information can be used by the doctor in conjunction with other factors, such as signs and symptoms, physical examination and other tests to determine if someone has an acute inflammatory condition, or if they are experiencing a flare-up of a chronic inflammatory disease. The doctor may then follow up with further testing and treatment.

How is the sample collected for testing?

A blood sample is obtained by inserting a needle into a vein in your arm.

NOTE: If undergoing medical tests makes you or someone you care for anxious, embarrassed, or even difficult to manage, you might consider reading one or more of the following articles: Coping with Test Pain, Discomfort, and Anxiety, Tips on Blood Testing, Tips to Help Children through Their Medical Tests, and Tips to Help the Elderly through Their Medical Tests.

Another article, Follow That Sample, provides a glimpse at the collection and processing of a blood sample and throat culture.

Is any test preparation needed to ensure the quality of the sample?

No test preparation is needed.

The Test

Common Questions

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Article Sources

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NOTE: This article is based on research that utilizes the sources cited here as well as the collective experience of the Lab Tests Online Editorial Review Board. This article is periodically reviewed by the Editorial Board and may be updated as a result of the review. Any new sources cited will be added to the list and distinguished from the original sources used.