C-Reactive Protein (CRP) Test: About This Test

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What is it?

This blood test measures the amount of C-reactive protein in your blood. C-reactive protein levels rise when there is inflammation in your body.

Very high levels of CRP are caused by infections and many serious diseases. But other tests are needed to find the actual cause and location of the inflammation.

Why is this test done?

This test is used to:

  • Check for infection after surgery.
  • Find out if you have an increased chance of having a sudden heart problem, such as a heart attack.
  • Identify and keep track of infections and diseases that cause inflammation, such as:
    • Lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes).
    • Giant cell arteritis (painful swelling of the blood vessels in the head and neck).
    • Rheumatoid arthritis (painful swelling of the tissues that line the joint).
    • Osteomyelitis (infection of a bone).

How can you prepare for the test?

  • In general, you don’t need to prepare before having this test. Your doctor may give you some specific instructions.

What happens during the test?

  • A health professional takes a sample of your blood.

What else should you know about the test?

  • Your results will include an explanation of what a "normal" result is. This is called a "reference range." It is just a guide. Your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed may still be normal for you.

How long does the test take?

  • The test will take a few minutes.

What happens after the test?

  • You will probably be able to go home right away.
  • You can go back to your usual activities right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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Current as of: February 19, 2016