N-terminal brain natriuretic peptide, but not anemia, is a powerful predictor of mortality in advanced heart failure

Roy S Gardner, Kwok S Chong, James J Morton, Theresa A McDonagh
Journal of Cardiac Failure 2005, 11 (5): S47-53

BACKGROUND: Anemia is prevalent in patients with chronic heart failure, the proportion of which increases with deteriorating New York Heart Association functional class. Anemia is also associated with increased symptoms, more frequent hospitalizations, and, in some studies, with an increased mortality rate. We have demonstrated that N-terminal brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) is a powerful predictor of death in advanced heart failure and is superior to the traditional markers of chronic heart failure (CHF) severity. However, to date, there are no published data that compare the prognostic ability of NT-proBNP with that of hemoglobin and hematocrit in patients with advanced heart failure who are referred for consideration of cardiac transplantation at a time when erythropoietin is under investigation as a treatment option in such a population.

METHODS AND RESULTS: We prospectively studied 182 consecutive patients with advanced CHF who had been referred for consideration of cardiac transplantation. Blood samples were taken at recruitment for routine investigation and for NT-proBNP analysis; the patients' condition was followed for a median of 554 days. The primary end point of all-cause death was reached in 30 patients, and the secondary end point of all-cause death or urgent cardiac transplantation was reached in 34 patients. The mean hemoglobin level was 13.9 +/- 2.2 g/dL, and the median concentration of NT-proBNP was 1505 pg/mL (interquartile range, 517-4015). The only multivariate predictor of all-cause death (chi 2 = 14.2; P < .001) or the secondary end point of all-cause death or urgent transplantation (chi 2 = 21.8; P < .001) was an NT-proBNP concentration above the median value.

CONCLUSION: A single measurement of NT-proBNP in patients with advanced CHF can help to identify patients who are at a higher risk of death and is a better prognostic marker than anemia.

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