Article Abstract

Diagnostic performance of C-reactive protein for parapneumonic pleural effusion: a meta-analysis

Authors: Dajiang Li, Yongchun Shen, Jiangyue Qin, Chun Wan, Ni Zeng, Lei Chen, Yue Dong


Background: Parapneumonic pleural effusion (PPE) refers to effusion secondary to lung infection, the accurate diagnosis of which remains a clinical challenge. Many studies have suggested that the C-reactive protein (CRP) may be useful for diagnosing PPE, but the results have varied. This study aimed to summarize the overall diagnostic ability of serum/pleural CRP for PPE through a meta-analysis.
Methods: Eligible studies were searched for within PubMed, EMBASE, and other databases up to March 1, 2018. The main diagnostic indexes, sensitivity, specificity, positive likelihood ratio/negative likelihood ratio (PLR/NLR), and diagnostic odds ratio (DOR), were then pooled from the individual studies. The summary receiver operating characteristic curves and area under the curve (AUC) were used to summarize the overall test performance.
Results: Eighteen publications were included in this meta-analysis. Summary estimates of the diagnostic performance of pleural CRP for PPE were as follows: sensitivity, 0.80; specificity, 0.82; PLR, 4.51; NLR, 0.25; DOR, 18.26; and AUC, 0.88. The AUC of serum CRP in diagnosing PPE was 0.79. The diagnostic indexes for pleural CRP in differentiating complicated PPE (CPPE) from uncomplicated PPE were as follows: sensitivity, 0.65; specificity, 0.85; PLR, 4.26; NLR, 0.41; DOR, 10.38; and AUC, 0.83. There was no evidence of publication bias.
Conclusions: Both serum and pleural CRP help to diagnose PPE but with moderate diagnostic ability. Pleural CRP measurements also can aid in differentiating CPPE from uncomplicated PPE. However, the results of the CRP assay should be interpreted with additional biomarker tests.