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High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein May Predict Mortality

Last Updated: October 20, 2009.

In stroke-free middle-aged and older people, higher levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein are associated with a modestly increased risk of heart attack and death, but are not associated with an increased risk of stroke, according to a study published in the Oct. 20 issue of Neurology

TUESDAY, Oct. 20 (HealthDay News) -- In stroke-free middle-aged and older people, higher levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein are associated with a modestly increased risk of heart attack and death, but are not associated with an increased risk of stroke, according to a study published in the Oct. 20 issue of Neurology.

Mitchell S.V. Elkind, M.D., of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, and colleagues measured levels in baseline high-sensitivity C-reactive protein in 2,240 participants aged 40 years and over enrolled in the Northern Manhattan Stroke Study. A majority of participants were women (64.2 percent) and minorities (55.1 percent Hispanic, 23.5 percent African-American).

Compared to subjects with a high-sensitivity C-reactive protein level below 1 mg/L, the researchers found that those with levels above 3 mg/L had an increased risk of myocardial infarction and death (adjusted hazard ratios, 1.70 and 1.55, respectively). Although subjects with levels above 3 mg/L had an increased risk of ischemic stroke in a model adjusted for demographics (hazard ratio, 1.60), the risk became insignificant after adjustment for other risk factors (hazard ratio, 1.20).

"Our findings corroborate previous studies showing that high-sensitivity C-reactive protein is independently predictive of all-cause mortality, but we found no clear effect in stroke risk prediction," the authors write. "Differences between our findings and those of others may reflect differences in the burden of risk factors or underlying risk of the study population."

Several authors reported financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

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