Prognostic value, clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of high sensitivity C-reactive protein as a marker in primary prevention of major cardiac events.GMS Health Technol Assess. 2009 May 12; 5:Doc06.GH
In a substantial portion of patients (= 25%) with coronary heart disease (CHD), a myocardial infarction or sudden cardiac death without prior symptoms is the first manifestation of disease. The use of new risk predictors for CHD such as the high-sensitivity C-reactive Protein (hs-CRP) in addition to established risk factors could improve prediction of CHD. As a consequence of the altered risk assessment, modified preventive actions could reduce the number of cardiac death and non-fatal myocardial infarction.
Does the additional information gained through the measurement of hs-CRP in asymptomatic patients lead to a clinically relevant improvement in risk prediction as compared to risk prediction based on traditional risk factors and is this cost-effective?
A literature search of the electronic databases of the German Institute of Medical Documentation and Information (DIMDI) was conducted. Selection, data extraction, assessment of the study-quality and synthesis of information was conducted according to the methods of evidence-based medicine.
Eight publications about predictive value, one publication on the clinical efficacy and three health-economic evaluations were included. In the seven study populations of the prediction studies, elevated CRP-levels were almost always associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular events and non-fatal myocardial infarctions or cardiac death and severe cardiovascular events. The effect estimates (odds ratio (OR), relative risk (RR), hazard ratio (HR)), once adjusted for traditional risk factors, demonstrated a moderate, independent association between hs-CRP and cardiac and cardiovascular events that fell in the range of 0.7 to 2.47. In six of the seven studies, a moderate increase in the area under the curve (AUC) could be detected by adding hs-CRP as a predictor to regression models in addition to established risk factors though in three cases this was not statistically significant. The difference [in the AUC] between the models with and without hs-CRP fell between 0.00 and 0.023 with a median of 0.003. A decision-analytic modeling study reported a gain in life-expectancy for those using statin therapy for populations with elevated hs-CRP levels and normal lipid levels as compared to statin therapy for those with elevated lipid levels (approximately 6.6 months gain in life-expectancy for 58 year olds). Two decision-analytic models (three publications) on cost-effectiveness reported incremental cost-effectiveness ratios between Euro 8,700 and 50,000 per life year gained for the German context and between 52,000 and 708,000 for the US context. The empirical input data for the model is highly uncertain.
No sufficient evidence is available to support the notion that hs-CRP-values should be measured during the global risk assessment for CAD or cardiovascular disease in addition to the traditional risk factors. The additional measurement of the hs-CRP-level increases the incremental predictive value of the risk prediction. It has not yet been clarified whether this increase is clinically relevant resulting in reduction of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. For people with medium cardiovascular risk (5 to 20% in ten years) additional measurement of hs-CRP seems most likely to be clinical relevant to support the decision as to whether or not additional statin therapy should be initiated for primary prevention. Statin therapy can reduce the occurrence of cardiovascular events for asymptomatic individuals with normal lipid and elevated hs-CRP levels. However, this is not enough to provide evidence for a clinical benefit of hs-CRP-screening. The cost-effectiveness of general hs-CRP-screening as well as screening among only those with normal lipid levels remains unknown at present.