Aims

We analysed the association between C-reactive protein (CRP) levels measured on admission and timing and cause of death among patients hospitalized for acute heart failure (AHF).

Methods and results

The ATTEND study prospectively registered 4777 hospitalized AHF patients with data on CRP levels on admission. Mortality risks were assessed by univariable and multivariable Cox proportional and non-proportional hazards models. The overall median CRP level was 5.8 mg/L (intertertile range: 2.9–11.8 mg/L). There were significant increases in all-cause, cardiac, and non-cardiac mortalities from the lowest to highest CRP tertiles throughout the follow-up periods. Within 120 days after admission, CRP levels in the highest tertile (>11.8 mg/L) were independently associated with higher all-cause (hazard ratio [HR], 2.21; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.69–2.88; P < 0.001), cardiac (HR, 1.88; 95% CI, 1.37–2.58; P < 0.001), and non-cardiac (HR, 3.21; 95% CI, 1.94–5.32; P < 0.001) deaths, while levels in the second tertile (2.9–11.8 mg/L) were not associated with poorer survival, compared with levels in the first tertile (<2.9 mg/L). However, in terms of cardiac death, the hazard ratios for patients in the third tertile decreased markedly with time and only CRP levels in second tertile were independently associated with poorer cardiac survival after the follow-up period of 120 days (HR, 1.44; 95% CI, 1.09–1.89; P = 0.011).

Conclusions

Markedly elevated CRP levels at admission in patients with AHF may be associated with higher short-term cardiac and non-cardiac mortalities. In addition, modestly elevated CRP levels may be associated with higher mortality, especially cardiac mortality, after 120 days of long-term follow-up.

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