Use of N-terminal prohormone brain natriuretic peptide assay for etiologic diagnosis of acute dyspnea in elderly patients

Philippe Berdagué, Pierre-Yves Caffin, Isabelle Barazer, Christine Vergnes, Shahin Sedighian, Sébastien Letrillard, Romain Pilossof, Frédéric Goutorbe, Christophe Piot, Jean-Luc Reny
American Heart Journal 2006, 151 (3): 690-8

BACKGROUND: B-type peptide assay (brain natriuretic peptide [BNP] and N-terminal prohormone brain natriuretic peptide [NT-proBNP]) is useful for the diagnosis of heart failure (HF), but few data are available on the use of these markers in elderly subjects. The aim of this study was to evaluate NT-proBNP assay for the diagnosis of acute left HF in patients older than 70 years hospitalized for acute dyspnea.

METHODS: We prospectively enrolled 256 elderly patients with acute dyspnea. They were categorized by 2 cardiologists unaware of NT-proBNP values into a cardiac dyspnea subgroup (left HF) and a noncardiac dyspnea subgroup (all other causes).

RESULTS: Mean age was 81 +/- 7 years, and 52% of the patients were women. The diagnoses made in the emergency setting were incorrect or uncertain in 45% of cases. The median NT-proBNP value was higher (P < .0001) in patients with cardiac dyspnea (n = 142; 7906 pg/mL) than in patients with noncardiac dyspnea (n = 112; 1066 pg/mL). The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was 0.86 (95% CI 0.81-0.91). At a cutoff of 2000 pg/mL, NT-proBNP had a sensitivity of 86%, a specificity of 71%, and an overall accuracy of 80% for cardiac dyspnea. The use of 2 cutoffs (< 1200 and > 4500 pg/mL) resulted in an 8% error rate and a gray area englobing 32% of values.

CONCLUSION: NT-proBNP appears to be a sensitive and specific means of distinguishing pulmonary from cardiac causes of dyspnea in elderly patients. An optimal diagnostic strategy requires the use of 2 cutoffs and further investigations of patients with values in the gray area.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"