Brain natriuretic peptide is associated with worsening and mortality in acute stroke patients but adds no prognostic value to clinical predictors of outcome

J Montaner, T García-Berrocoso, M Mendioroz, M Palacios, M Perea-Gainza, P Delgado, A Rosell, M Slevin, M Ribó, C A Molina, J Alvarez-Sabín
Cerebrovascular Diseases 2012, 34 (3): 240-5

BACKGROUND: At the present time, the determination of the outcome of stroke patients is based on the analysis of clinical and neuroimaging data. The use of prognostic blood biomarkers could aid in decision-making processes, e.g. admitting patients to specialized stroke units. Although the prognostic role of natriuretic peptides has been studied in heart failure and coronary diseases, the value of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) is less known within the field of strokes.

OBJECTIVE: We aimed to study the relationship between plasma levels of BNP and acute neurological worsening or mortality after stroke in a large cohort of patients (investigating both ischemic and hemorrhagic disease).

METHODS: Consecutive stroke patients (ischemic and hemorrhagic) admitted to the Stroke Unit of our University Hospital within 24 h of the onset of symptoms were included. Stroke severity was assessed according to the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) at admission and at discharge. Neurological worsening was defined as an increase of 4 or more points in the NIHSS score or death during the patient's stay at the Stroke Unit. Blood samples were drawn upon admission to measure plasma levels of BNP (Biosite Inc., San Diego, Calif., USA). Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS 15.0 and R software.

RESULTS: Altogether, 896 patients were included in the study. BNP plasma levels were higher among patients who deteriorated the most over time (n = 112; 90.5 vs. 61.2 ng/l; p = 0.006) or died (n = 83; 118.2 vs. 60.9 ng/l; p < 0.001). Multivariate logistic regression analysis indicated that plasma BNP level was an independent predictor of neurological worsening [BNP >56.7 ng/l; odds ratio (OR) = 1.64; p = 0.04] and death after stroke (BNP >65.3 ng/l; OR = 1.97; p = 0.034). Adding BNP level to other well-known clinical predictors of bad outcome did not significantly increase the predictive value.

CONCLUSIONS: Plasma levels of BNP measured during the acute phase of stroke are associated both with early neurological worsening and mortality. However, this biological information does not supply prognostic information which would add to clinical variables, which limits its use as a biomarker. Further investigation and systematic reviews are needed to clarify the role of natriuretic peptides in stroke outcome.

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