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Explained: Why doctors are recommending CRP tests even for Covid patients in home isolation

Doctors are conducting it mandatorily for the patients with critical conditions who are in hospital care, because it is one of the indicators showing the body’s reaction to the ongoing treatment.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Jalandhar |
Updated: June 17, 2021 9:35:43 am
Explaine: Why are doctors recommending CRP tests even for the patients in home isolation?Doctors recommend it for at least twice on an interval of 4-5 days just to check the inflammation so as to judge about the further complication level. (Express Photo by Amit Mehra)

C-reactive protein (CRP) test, is mainly conducted for patients who are hospitalised for Covid virus treatment, but a large number of doctors are recommending the same test even to those Covid positive patients who are in home isolation with moderate to mild symptoms.

CRP is not a diagnostic test but it has prognostic value. Then, why are doctors recommending it to patients in home isolation?

What is a CRP test?

It is a blood test and it tells about inflammation level in the body during any ailment and indicates about the infection level. It can be done for any ailment. The higher value of CRP level than the normal level indicates that the infection is increasing. CRP tests is a marker which shows the level of C-reactive protein, which is made by the liver, in the blood.

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Why is it recommended for the treatment of Covid patients?

Doctors are conducting it mandatorily for the patients with critical conditions who are in hospital care, because it is one of the indicators showing the body’s reaction to the ongoing treatment.

“If the CRP, which is also recommended in the guidelines for Covid treatment, is normal then the patient’s body is reacting to the treatment positively and if it is higher than the required, then doctors need to check the infection level in the body through other tests like CT scan,” said Doctor SS Johal, who runs a hospital in Jalandhar and also has Level-3 facility for the treatment of Covid patients.

“It is recommended for those in home isolation too if they do not show any improvement in their symptoms even after the passing of a week or so,” he added.

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Why and when it should be conducted for those in home isolation?

Doctors say that for patients with mild and moderate Covid symptoms, CRP is not necessary unless and until the patient is suffering with the same symptoms even after passing of 5 days of his/her contracting the virus.

Doctors recommend it for at least twice on an interval of 4-5 days just to check the inflammation so as to judge about the further complication level.

“If a patient in home isolation sees that his/her oxygen level is fluctuating between 93 to 97 quite often then we recommend them for CRP so that we can know the inflammation level in the body,” said Dr Ajay Bagga, adding that this marker can also help doctors to know further complications.

How does it help doctors as well as patients in the line of treatment?

“CRP test is not costly like CT scan and so we recommend it to the patients. Conducting this test twice on an interval of 4-5 days reveals the CRP level in the patients on the basis of which doctors can decide the next course of action,” said Dr Navjot Singh Dahiya, National Vice-President of Indian Medical Association (IMA), adding that if a patient sees no improvement in their symptoms, they may be recommended steroids for Covid treatment which the doctors can start at home so as to save them from hospitalisation.

Also oxygen supply to the hospitals is so poor across the country and this marker helps doctors to treat the patients at home early so that they can be saved from serious illness. So, it is helpful for both doctors as well as patients.

He said that it should not be recommended to all home isolation patients but only to those who are not showing improvement in their symptoms despite having recommended medicines.

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