Background: Several studies have suggested that high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) is a strong independent predictor of acute myocardial infarction and cardiovascular death. In the specific heart failure (HF) context, a low-grade inflammatory state can contribute to HF progression.
Aims: To perform a systematic review on the current knowledge about low-grade inflammation, as assessed by hsCRP, in the prediction of HF in general and in high-risk populations as well as its prognostic value in established HF.
Methods: We used a computerized literature search in the Medline database using the following key words: C-Reactive Protein, Heart Failure, Cardiomyopathy, Cardiac Failure, Prognosis, and Death. Articles were selected if they had measurements of hsCRP in different patient samples and reference to outcomes in terms of morbidity and mortality.
Results: hsCRP is associated with incident HF in general and high-risk populations and provides prognostic information in HF patients. In almost all studies, the association of hsCRP with clinical events was independent of other baseline variables known to influence morbidity and mortality. Very different cutoffs have been proposed in each context across studies.
Conclusions: The prognostic power of hsCRP, whether we consider incident HF or adverse outcomes in established HF, is consistent in different patient populations.