Objective: To determine whether a difference exists in the levels of high sensitivity C-reactive protein (Hs-CRP) in patients with and without calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD).
Patients and methods: This cross-sectional study consisted of 110 patients who had undergone echocardiographic examination from January 2005 to February 2006 at our institution. Information on demographic variables, coronary risk factors, and medications was obtained. More than 200 patients were excluded on the basis of any evidence of infection, active connective tissue disorder, rheumatoid arthritis, recent episodes of bleeding, acute fractures, bowel obstruction, or acute coronary syndrome or use of corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or antibiotic treatment. The values of Hs-CRP, total cholesterol, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate were included.
Results: Of the 110 study subjects, 38 patients had aortic sclerosis, 36 patients had aortic stenosis, and 36 were controls. The mean Hs-CRP level in the control group was significantly lower (4.84 +/- 6.9 mg/L) compared with the levels in the groups with aortic sclerosis (14.9 +/- 19.6 mg/L) and aortic stenosis (13.6 +/- 17.3 mg/L) (P = -.01). No statistically significant difference was found between the patients in the aortic sclerosis and aortic stenosis groups. Among the patients with aortic stenosis, no significant correlation existed between Hs-CRP levels and aortic stenosis severity.
Conclusions: The Hs-CRP seems to have a significant association with CAVD during its early stage. The study findings did not have sufficient evidence to suggest the use of Hs-CRP as a marker of progression of calcific aortic stenosis. The Hs-CRP may have a role in identifying patients in the early stages of CAVD and in whom medical treatment may be beneficial to halt the progression to irreversible aortic valvular calcification and stenosis.