Health Today

Markers of Inflammation and Cardiovascular Disease

Application to Clinical and Public Health Practice: A Statement for Healthcare Professionals From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Heart Association

In 1998, the American Heart Association convened Prevention Conference V to examine strategies for the identification of high-risk patients who need primary prevention. Among the strategies discussed was the measurement of markers of inflammation.1 The Conference concluded that “many of these markers (including inflammatory markers) are not yet considered applicable for routine risk assessment because of: (1) lack of measurement standardization, (2) lack of consistency in epidemiological findings from prospective studies with endpoints, and (3) lack of evidence that the novel marker adds to risk prediction over and above that already achievable through the use of established risk factors.” The National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III Guidelines identified these markers as emerging risk factors,1a which could be used as an optional risk factor measurement to adjust estimates of absolute risk obtained using standard risk factors. Since these publications, a large number of peer-reviewed scientific reports have been published relating inflammatory markers to cardiovascular disease (CVD). Several commercial assays for inflammatory markers have become available. As a consequence of the expanding research base and availability of assays, the number of inflammatory marker tests ordered by clinicians for CVD risk prediction has grown rapidly. Despite this, there has been no consensus from professional societies or governmental agencies as to how these assays of markers of inflammation should be used in clinical practice.  

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