The role of inflammation in the causation of venous thromboembolism (VTE) is uncertain. In 10,505 participants of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study, we assessed the association of the systemic inflammation marker, elevated C-reactive protein (CRP), with incidence of VTE (n=221) over a median of 8.3 years of follow-up. Adjusted for age, race, and sex, the hazard ratios of VTE across quintiles of CRP were 1.0, 1.61, 1.16, 1.56, and 2.31 (p for trend p<0.0007). For CRP above the upper 10 percentile (> or = 8.55 mg/L), compared with the lowest 90% of CRP values, the hazard ratio of VTE was 2.07 (95% CI 1.47, 2.94). Further adjustment for baseline hormone replacement therapy, diabetes, and body mass index attenuated the hazard ratios only slightly. For example, the adjusted hazard ratio of VTE was 1.76 (95% CI 1.23, 2.52) for CRP above versus below the 90(th) percentile. In conclusion, this prospective, population-based study suggests elevated CRP is independently associated with increased risk of VTE.