Heart test a load of CRP

Although medicine has waxed lyrical, the latest wonder blood test for predicting your risk of a heart attack is no better than taking a careful history, according to an 18-year study.

The wonder test is the C-reactive protein (CRP) test, which measures protein in the blood. However, in a study of 18,000 residents of Iceland, where researchers measured the CRP levels in blood frozen between 1967 and 1991, the Icelandic researchers found that the CRP results were no more predictive of a heart attack than information provided by cholesterol tests, or even a clinical history of smoking or high blood pressure.

The researchers concluded that the suggested expanded role for CRP testing ‘may need to be reviewed’ (N Engl J Med, 2004; 350: 1387-97).

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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