The Need-To-Knows about CRP Test

Nurse Manith was staring blankly at the chart. She has been working for several months as a staff nurse in this hospital already, but it was her first time to encounter such order for a test. Though she is convinced that she knows most of the routines in the area, she admits that there are still a lot more to learn, like this CRP test for example. Yeah, what she only has to do is make a request and leave it all to the laboratory medical technologists to take specimen and analyze the result. However, this does not content her, she feels that she needs to know more about this test and not just relay abnormal results to resident on duty if ever. With the need to gain more knowledge and be aware of the tests and treatment plans for her patient, she grabs a book and gets to know more about CRP.

What you need to know about CRP

C-reactive protein (CRP) is a blood test marker for inflammation in the body. It is produced in the liver and its level is measured by testing the blood for C-reactive protein. In response to inflammation, CRP levels may rise such as in infections and other long-term disease. However, this test cannot locate where the infection is located or whatever has caused it. Instead, other tests must be conducted in adjunct to CRP to get the location and cause of inflammation.

Usually, this test is done to check for infection especially after surgery. Here, CRP levels may rise from 2-6 hours post surgery, but may eventually lower down on the 3rd day, otherwise, it may suggest an infection. It may also be ordered to identify and keep track of infections and diseases and conditions that cause inflammation such as lymphoma, burns, diseases of the immune system, Giant cell arteritis or the painful swelling of the blood vessels in the head and neck, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, certain cancers and osteomyelitis. Third, this test may be ordered to check how well a treatment plan is working such as in the case of cancer. If treatment is going well, CRP levels may rise quickly then lower down quickly as well.

Preparation and Results

Fret not, there is no preparation for this test. However, you must inform and remind the physician in charge of the medications the patient is taking since some of them may interfere and affect CRP results.

The normal range for CRP may vary from one institution to another, but usually it is 0-1.0 mg/dL or less than 10 mg/L (SI units). While some conditions that result to sudden or severe inflammation may increase one’s CRP level, some medications may affect it the opposite way.

There come certain times when us nurses are looked down and thought about by common folks as doctors’ assistants only. Yes, it may offend us, but sometimes, we ourselves are the one encouraging that thought. Instead of just relying in doctors for explanations regarding certain conditions and tests, let us have the initiative to dig in deeper and be more aware of certain interventions we are taking. Remember, we are also professionals and have spent long years in nursing school. Let us not ignorance and laziness get in our way into becoming more knowledgeable, skillful and efficient nurses.

 

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Liane Clores, RN MAN

Currently an Intensive Care Unit nurse, pursuing a degree in Master of Arts in Nursing Major in Nursing Service Administration. Has been a contributor of Student Nurses Quarterly, Vox Populi, The Hillside Echo and the Voice of Nightingale publications. Other experience include: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Obstetric, Emergency and Recovery Room Nursing.

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