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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 976-981

Significant role of serum CRP in differentiating inflammatory from non-inflammatory causes of thyrotoxicosis


1 Consultant Endocrinologist, Excel Center (Unit of Excelcare Hospitals), Guwahati, Assam, India
2 Chief Consultant Biochemist and Quality Manager, Suraksha Diagnostic Pvt. Ltd., Calcutta, India

Correspondence Address:
Manash P Baruah
Excel Center (Unit of Excelcare Hospitals), Ulubari, Guwahati - 781 007, Assam
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2230-8210.103002

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Background: C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a marker of inflammation, has not been widely studied in inflammatory thyroid disorders particularly in sub-acute thyroiditis (SAT). Aim: This study was aimed to find the significance of CRP level rise in patients with SAT and compare that to the rise in erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), a gold standard laboratory parameter in establishing the diagnosis of SAT. Materials and Methods: Serum CRP levels were measured at initial presentation in 28 subjects with SAT(12 male, 16 female, age (Mean +SD) 37.96 ±8.5 years),and 19 patients with Graves' disease (2 male, 17 female, age [Mean +SD] 36.8 ±16.5 years) as controls. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) was measured in all 28 patients with SAT by Westergrens' method. Either Tc 99 nucleotide thyroid scan or high resolution ultrasonography (HR-USG) was performed to differentiate SAT from Graves' disease.Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) of thyroid was performed selected patients. Results: Serum CRP level was high in 61% of SAT patients but in none of the Graves'patients. Mean (SEM) (90%CI) serum CRP level (mg/L) was also significantly higher (P <0.0004) in the SAT group [27.55 (5.76) (15.72-39.38)], than in the Graves' group [4.09 (0.12) (3.81-4.36)]. The sensitivity of serum CRP was 73.33%, specificity 53.85%, positive predictive value (PPV) 64.71%, and negative predictive value (NPV) 63.64% as compared to the sensitivity (53.57%), specificity (15.38%), PPV (57.69 %), and NPV (13.33%) of ESR. Conclusion: There is significantly higher rise in serum CRP level in patients with SAT is compared to patients with Graves' disease. It correlates well with the rise in ESR. Such findings of this pilot study highlight the scope of using serum CRP as a diagnostic marker of SAT specially in situations when it may be confused with Graves' disease, another common cause of thyrotoxicosis. It is logical to carry out studies to find a particular cut-off for serum CRP which can serve as an objective parameter for grading the inflammation in patients with SAT.


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