Background: The serum concentration of C-reactive protein (CRP) is mildly elevated in patients with chronic congestive heart failure (CHF), but this level falls well within the range found in healthy subjects. Standard clinical assays for CRP lack sensitivity within the low reference range and thus cannot be used effectively for routine clinical risk prediction. Because assays for high-sensitivity CRP (hsCRP) are now available, we can measure hsCRP to determine its predictive value for the prognosis of patients with CHF.
Methods: Serum levels of hsCRP in 108 patients with CHF and left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) <50% were examined. Major adverse cardiac events (death, heart transplantation, or hospitalization with worsening heart failure) during a median follow-up period of 403 days were determined.
Results: The concentrations of hsCRP in this study population were significantly increased with the severity of CHF. In a multivariate analysis, LVEF and serum levels of hsCRP were independent significant predictors for adverse outcomes in these patients (hazard ratio, 3.714, P =.024, and hazard ratio, 2.584, P =.047, respectively). However, hsCRP was minimally correlated with LVEF (r = -0.167, P =.084). Further analysis indicated that hsCRP might identify a different high-risk group and could improve risk stratification beyond that of LVEF.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that an elevated level of hsCRP is an independent predictor of prognosis in CHF and can provide additional prognostic information for the risk stratification and treatment in patients with chronic CHF.