Effect of atrial fibrillation on plasma NT-proBNP in chronic heart failure

Pernille Corell, Finn Gustafsson, Caroline Kistorp, Lene Helleskov Madsen, Morten Schou, Per Hildebrandt
International Journal of Cardiology 2007 May 2, 117 (3): 395-402

BACKGROUND: Brain natriuretic peptides are elevated in patients with systolic heart failure (HF) as well as in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and normal left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) and are strong predictors of death in HF patients. The aim of our study was to examine the levels of N-terminal pro brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) in patients with HF and AF versus HF and sinus rhythm (SR) and if NT-proBNP has prognostic influence in patients with AF.

METHODS: We included 245 patients (72% men, 70 years) with HF referred to a HF clinic. NT-proBNP was measured at referral (baseline).

RESULTS: At baseline, 26% had AF and at follow-up 35% of the surviving patients. Patients with AF were older than patients with SR (p=0.009), but LVEF and NYHA distribution were similar. Median NT-proBNP levels were higher: 2528 vs. 899 pg/ml (p<0.001). NT-proBNP was significantly correlated with AF at baseline (p<0.001), age (p=0.001), P-creatinine (p<0.001) and reduced LVEF (p=0.002). NT-proBNP was an independent predictor of death in patients with AF, adjusted HR 4.0 (95% CI 1.6-10.2) (p=0.003).

CONCLUSION: NT-proBNP levels are higher in HF patients with AF than in HF patients with SR and has prognostic value despite the presence of AF.

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