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A study from Harvard Medical School shows that C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is the best available blood test to predict whether person is likely to die suddenly of a heart attack.

The authors drew blood tests for C-reactive protein, homocysteine, and cholesterol and followed these men for 17 years. Those who had high blood levels of C-reactive protein were at significantly increased risk for sudden heart death, while having a high cholesterol or a high homocysteine were not good predictors.

C-reactive protein is a measure of inflammation and the most common cause is infection. Hundreds of recent studies show that infection with chlamydia and other germs increases a person's risk for heart attacks. This study implies that infection is a more common cause of sudden cardiac death than having a high cholesterol or high homocysteine level.

Prospective study of C-reactive protein, homocysteine, and plasma lipid levels as predictors of sudden cardiac death. Circulation, 2002, Vol 105, Iss 22, pp 2595-2599. CM Albert, J Ma, N Rifai, MJ Stampfer, PM Ridker. Albert CM, Brigham & Womens Hosp, Div Prevent Med, Dept Med, Leducq Ctr Mol & Genet Epidemiol, Ctr Cardiovasc Dis Prevent, 900 Commonwealth Ave E, Boston,MA 02215 USA

Checked 9/3/05

May 21st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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