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C-reactive protein (CRP) is a protein made by the liver. This protein is generally not found in the blood in measurable amounts. Instead, it appears only when the body is suffering from inflammation. CRP will be elevated following a surgery or trauma to the body, but it can also appear if the patient is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, which causes inflammation of the joints.
CRP is now being studied for its connection to heart disease. The VAP Cholesterol Test measures CRP in an effort to detect hidden coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis). While CRP's connection to heart disease is still not known, some experts now list elevated CRP as a risk factor for atherosclerosis.