JOURNAL ARTICLE

The additive value of N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide testing at the emergency department in patients with acute dyspnoea

N van der Burg-de Graauw, C M Cobbaert, C J F M Middelhoff, T A Bantje, C van Guldener
European Journal of Internal Medicine 2009, 20 (3): 301-6
19393498

BACKGROUND: B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) and its inactive counterpart NT-proBNP can help to identify or rule out heart failure in patients presenting with acute dyspnoea. It is not well known whether measurement of these peptides can be omitted in certain patient groups.

METHODS: We conducted a prospective observational study of 221 patients presenting with acute dyspnoea at the emergency department. The attending physicians estimated the probability of heart failure by clinical judgement. NT-proBNP was measured, but not reported. An independent panel made a final diagnosis of all available data including NT-proBNP level and judged whether and how NT-proBNP would have altered patient management.

RESULTS: NT-proBNP levels were highest in patients with heart failure, alone or in combination with pulmonary failure. Additive value of NT-proBNP was present in 40 of 221 (18%) of the patients, and it mostly indicated that a more intensive treatment for heart failure would have been needed. Clinical judgement was an independent predictor of additive value of NT-proBNP with a maximum at a clinical probability of heart failure of 36%.

CONCLUSION: NT-proBNP measurement has additive value in a substantial number of patients presenting with acute dyspnoea, but can possibly be omitted in patients with a clinical probability of heart failure of >70%.

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