• Bacteraemia;
  • C-reactive protein;
  • mortality;
  • prognosis;
  • sepsis

Clin Microbiol Infect 2011; 17: 627–632


We examined the association between C-reactive protein (CRP) level at time of blood culture (BC) draw and mortality following bacteraemia. Our population-based cohort study comprised all first-time monomicrobial bacteraemia episodes in adults in a Danish county during 1996–2004 (n = 5267). CRP was measured within 24 h of the first positive BC draw. Cox regression was used to compute mortality rate ratios (MRRs) associated with CRP level quartiles (10–64 (reference), 65–143, 144–240 and 241–688 mg/L), controlling for age, gender, comorbidity, specialty, acquisition of infection, and infection focus. We also looked for a biological interaction between CRP level and high magnitude of bacteraemia (three of three culture bottles positive). Thirty-day mortality increased with higher CRP level: adjusted 0–30-day MRRs for patients in the second, third and fourth CRP quartiles were 1.38 (95% CI 1.13–1.69), 1.70 (95% CI 1.40–2.06), and 2.38 (95% CI 1.96–2.87), respectively (p for trend <10−4). In contrast, mortality associations with CRP during 31–365 days of follow-up were weak (adjusted MRRs for the second to fourth quartiles ranged from 1.18 to 1.28). A high magnitude of bacteraemia strengthened the association between high CRP level and 30-day mortality. We conclude that the CRP level, measured concurrently with the first positive BC, independently predicted 30-day mortality in adult bacteraemia patients.