JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Amino-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide testing for the diagnosis or exclusion of heart failure in patients with acute symptoms

James L Januzzi, Annabel A Chen-Tournoux, Gordon Moe
American Journal of Cardiology 2008 February 4, 101 (3A): 29-38
18243855
When used for the evaluation of patients with acute symptoms in the emergency department setting, amino-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) testing is highly sensitive and specific for the diagnosis or exclusion of acute destabilized heart failure (HF), with results comparable to those reported for B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) testing. When used for the diagnostic evaluation of the patient with possible HF, NT-proBNP testing returns information that may be superior to clinical judgment. However, the optimal application of NT-proBNP is in concert with history and physical examination, adjunctive testing, and with the knowledge of the differential diagnosis of an elevated NT-proBNP level. Studies indicate a dual use for NT-proBNP, both to exclude acute HF (where NT-proBNP concentrations <300 ng/L have a 98% negative predictive value), as well as to identify the diagnosis. To identify acute HF in patients with dyspnea, an age-independent NT-proBNP cut point of 900 ng/L has a similar value as that reported for a BNP value of 100 ng/L. However, age stratification of NT-proBNP using cut points of 450, 900, and 1,800 ng/L (for age groups of <50, 50-75, and >75 years) reduces false-negative findings in younger patients, reduces false-positive findings in older patients, and improves the overall positive predictive value of the marker without a change in overall sensitivity or specificity. Clinically validated, cost-effective algorithms for the use of NT-proBNP testing exist. Therefore, the logical use of NT-proBNP for the evaluation of the patient with suspected acute HF is useful, cost-effective, and may reduce adverse outcomes compared with standard clinical evaluation without natriuretic peptide testing.

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