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CRP is helpful to detect acute infection, and particularly sepsis, in geriatric patients
The aging process has a strong impact on inflammation and immunity, leading to chronic low-grade activation of inflammatory pathways and decreased response to novel antigens. The response to acute infection in older individuals has some substantial physio-pathological differences compared to adult. Although CRP is widely used in younger populations, its value for diagnosing bacterial infection in older population is not well established.
Group of scientists focused on existing knowledge about CRP level interpretation in geriatric patients hospitalized with acute infection. The aims were to determine the significance of CRP measurement at hospital admission for establishing a diagnosis of infection and/or a prognosis and to evaluate whether it is indicated to repeat CRP measurements during hospital stay for monitoring disease course and, possibly, guiding the discharge timing.
The study noted that:
- Age-related immunologic rearrangements can affect markers of acute inflammation.
- Serum CRP elevation can help diagnosing acute infection in older hospitalized patients.
- CRP measurement may provide prognostic information in older inpatients.
- The significance of CRP kinetics in older patients with infection is poorly known.
More studies are still needed; nevertheless current scientific literature supports the use of CRP for detecting systemic infection in acutely hospitalized geriatric patients, especially when clinical examinations and first-level diagnostic tests are negative or misleading.
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