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January 1987

C-Reactive Protein Levels Predict Postoperative Septic Complications

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Wellesley Hospital, University of Toronto.

Arch Surg. 1987;122(1):69-73. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1987.01400130075011

• We studied 108 patients undergoing clean-contaminated and dirty surgical procedures to determine whether daily C-reactive protein (CRP) measurements for 14 days postoperatively could predict the occurrence of septic complications prior to clinical diagnosis. Diagnostic criteria for septic complications and positive CRP response were defined in advance of the study. The CRP assays were carried out using an automated laser nephelometer system after the patient's discharge from the hospital. Forty-six septic complications were diagnosed in 40 patients. These complications consisted of wound infection (23), urinary tract infection (11), pneumonia (six), upper respiratory tract infection (three), intra-abdominal abscess (one), and other (two). The CRP testing was found to have a positive predictive value of 69% and a negative predictive value of 78%. We conclude that serial CRP measurements may be a valuable adjunct to surgical care in patients at high risk of postoperative septic complications.

(Arch Surg 1987;122:69-73)