Objectives: The aim of this study was to compare the predictive value, clinical effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP)-screening in addition to traditional risk factor screening in apparently healthy persons as a means of preventing coronary artery disease.
Methods and Results: The systematic review was performed according to internationally recognized methods. Seven studies on risk prediction, one clinical decision-analytic modeling study, and three decision-analytic cost-effectiveness studies were included. The adjusted relative risk of high hs-CRP-level ranged from 0.7 to 2.47 (p < .05 in four of seven studies). Adding hs-CRP to the prediction models increased the areas under the curve by 0.00 to 0.027. Based on the clinical decision analysis, both individuals with elevated hs-CRP-levels and those with hyperlipidemia have a similar gain in life expectancy following statin therapy. One high-quality economic modeling study suggests favorable incremental cost-effectiveness ratios for persons with elevated hs-CRP and higher risk. However, many model parameters were based on limited evidence.
Conclusions: Adding hs-CRP to traditional risk factors improves risk prediction, but the clinical relevance and cost-effectiveness of this improvement remain unclear.