Background: Determination of C-reactive protein (CRP) level has been suggested to improve cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment. This study examines the utility of CRP levels to assess CVD risk in a community setting.
Methods: We performed a prospective observational cohort study on a community population sample. A total of 1949 men and 2497 women without CVD from the Framingham Heart Study underwent CVD risk factor assessment. Initial CVD events during 8 years of follow-up were recorded.
Results: There were 283 major CVD and 160 major coronary heart disease incident events. Age-, sex-, and multivariable-adjusted analyses generally used CRP level categories of less than 1, 1 to 3, and greater than 3 mg/L. In age- and sex-adjusted models, the traditional risk factors and elevated CRP levels indicated increased risk. The age- and sex-adjusted relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) of CRP level greater than 3 mg/L for major CVD was elevated (RR, 1.60; 95% CI, 1.19-2.14), with evidence of attenuation (RR, 1.22; 95% CI, 0.90-1.66) in multivariable models. The C statistic, a measure of the discriminatory capability of the prediction models, was 0.74 for prediction of major CVD with age and CRP level. In multivariable models that included traditional risk factors, the C statistic was 0.78, a value that was unchanged with the addition of CRP to the multivariable model. Similar relations were noted for major coronary heart disease events.
Conclusion: Elevated CRP level provided no further prognostic information beyond traditional office risk factor assessment to predict future major CVD and major coronary heart disease in this population sample.