Question: CalProtectin Test
Hello Doctor B,
I have a question regarding the Calprotectin test I had done in August and just got my results. I understand that 50 is a normal count for inflammation, mine was 2000. I was very ill. I am on Humira now for UC , since June 2015 and I have improved immensely and I am so grateful for this medication ( and it has no side effects for me, as methotrexate was ugly and I chose to go off it and not take both-for a better quality of life-living for the moments :).
So my question is what does a Calprotectin test actually tell about a patient's UC, ( I know it tells the number for inflammation), what does this truly all mean? I get a monthly CRP-CBC test, and I know it also tells about the inflammation, how is this same or different?
Just trying to understand my tests better.
Also, why does the government not cover Humira for UC patients, this is absolutely crazy. I am thankful that my spouse has a private provider through his work. Oh my what would one do without coverage!!!!!
Thank-you sincerely & Happy Thanksgiving,
Kayak Spirit :)
Great question. Fecal calprotectin is a test that is a very accurate marker for inflammation in the bowel. CRP (the blood test) can also be a marker for inflammation but it isn't specific to inflammation in the bowel. This means that if someone has inflammation in their lungs (for instance from an infection), the CRP will be elevated but the fecal calprotectin will not rise.
We do regularly follow a patient's fecal calprotectin as a guide to see how well a patient's ulcerative colitis is controlled. It is typically not done as often as the blood test due to the current cost of the test, and the hassle factor a patient has to go through to collect the sample.
Here is an excellent video about fecal calprotectin by Dr. Peter Higgins: