The physiology of inflammatory response is modified by the aging process and is substantially affected by multimorbidity and disability. Infection is the most frequent cause of acute inflammation in both adult and older subjects. C-reactive protein (CRP) is the most used biomarker of inflammation, and a substantial amount of literature has demonstrated its importance and clinical usefulness in adult subjects. However, the clinical significance of serum CRP determination has not been completely clarified in older subjects with acute infection, especially in the light of the age-related rearrangements in immunity and cytokine production. Thus, in the present review, we focus on the existing knowledge about serum CRP level interpretation in geriatric patients hospitalized with acute infection. Our aims were to determine the significance of CRP measurement at hospital admission for establishing a diagnosis of infection and/or a prognosis and to evaluate whether it is indicated to repeat hs-CRP measurements during hospital stay for monitoring disease course and, possibly, guiding the discharge timing. We concluded that CRP dosage at hospital admission is helpful to detect acute infection, and particularly sepsis, in geriatric patients, and that CRP elevation may provide valuable short-term prognostic information. At the current state of art, serial CRP measurements are instead not indicated to monitor disease course and plan hospital discharge in this setting.
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