Prognostic assessment of elderly patients with symptoms of heart failure by combining high-sensitivity troponin T and N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide measurements

Urban Alehagen, Ulf Dahlström, Jens F Rehfeld, Jens P Goetze
Clinical Chemistry 2010, 56 (11): 1718-24

BACKGROUND: N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) is a useful biomarker in heart failure assessment, whereas measurement of cardiac troponin is central in the diagnosis of patients with acute coronary syndromes. This report examined the prognostic use of combining high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) and NT-proBNP measurements in elderly patients presenting to a primary care center with symptoms associated with heart failure.

METHODS: A total of 470 elderly patients (age range 65-86 years) presenting with symptoms of heart failure were recruited from primary healthcare. In addition to clinical examination and echocardiography, hs-cTnT and NT-proBNP plasma concentrations were measured. All patients were followed for 10 years, and cardiovascular mortality was registered.

RESULTS: By use of the hs-cTnT assay, 80.4% of the population had plasma concentrations above the lower detection limit of the assay. Of those displaying a plasma concentration of hs-cTnT >99th percentile of a healthy population, 43% also had an NT-proBNP concentration in the fourth quartile (>507 ng/L). In the multivariate analysis, we observed a 2.5-fold increased risk for cardiovascular mortality in individuals with a plasma NT-proBNP concentration >507 ng/L (P < 0.0001). Conversely, patients with hs-cTnT >99th percentile displayed an approximately 2-fold increased risk for cardiovascular mortality (P = 0.0002). Combining the 2 biomarkers, NT-proBNP concentrations >507 ng/L with hs-cTnT >99th percentile increased the risk 3-fold, even after adjustment for clinical variables such as age, sex, impaired estimated glomerular filtration rate, and anemia (P < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS: hs-cTnT and NT-proBNP measurements combined provide better prognostic information than using either biomarker separately in elderly patients with symptoms associated with heart failure.

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