MONDAY, April 24, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Checking blood levels of inflammation-linked C-reactive protein (CRP) can help doctors predict which intensive care patients are most at risk for infection, suggests a Portuguese study appearing in the April 24 issue of Critical Care.
Researchers at Hospital de Sao Francisco Xavier, Lisbon, analyzed CRP levels in patients admitted to a hospital ICU, and concluded that a daily variation in CRP levels greater than 4.1 mg/dl is a good marker for predicting infection.
Of the patients in this study, 35 acquired infections and 28 did not. The researchers analyzed the patients' records of CRP levels during the five days before diagnosis of infection or, in the case of patients who did not develop infections, five days before their discharge from the ICU.
The study found that 88 percent of ICU patients with a daily variation of CRP levels greater than 4.1 mg/dl and a CRP concentration greater than 8.7 mg/dl developed an infection.
The researchers concluded that monitoring CRP progression could help in treatment decisions and the prescription of antibiotics.
The American Association for Clinical Chemistry has more about C-reactive protein.