COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
MULTICENTER STUDY

Atrial fibrillation impairs the diagnostic performance of cardiac natriuretic peptides in dyspneic patients: results from the BACH Study (Biomarkers in ACute Heart Failure)

Mark Richards, Salvatore Di Somma, Christian Mueller, Richard Nowak, W Frank Peacock, Piotr Ponikowski, Martin Mockel, Christopher Hogan, Alan H B Wu, Paul Clopton, Gerasimos S Filippatos, Inder Anand, Leong Ng, Lori B Daniels, Sean-Xavier Neath, Kevin Shah, Robert Christenson, Oliver Hartmann, Stefan D Anker, Alan Maisel
JACC. Heart Failure 2013, 1 (3): 192-9
24621869

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of atrial fibrillation (AF) on the performance of mid-region amino terminal pro-atrial natriuretic peptide (MR-proANP) in comparison with the B-type peptides (BNP and NT-proBNP) for diagnosis of acute heart failure (HF) in dyspneic patients.

BACKGROUND: The effects of AF on the diagnostic and prognostic performance of MR-proANP in comparison with the B type natriuretic peptides have not been previously reported.

METHODS: A total of 1,445 patients attending the emergency department with acute dyspnea had measurements taken of MR-proANP, BNP, and NT-proBNP values on enrollment to the BACH trial and were grouped according to presence or absence of AF and HF.

RESULTS: AF was present in 242 patients. Plasma concentrations of all three peptides were lowest in those with neither AF nor HF and AF without HF was associated with markedly increased levels (p < 0.00001). HF with or without AF was associated with a significant further increment (p < 0.00001 for all three markers). Areas under receiver operator characteristic curves (AUCs) for discrimination of acute HF were similar and powerful for all peptides without AF (0.893 to 0.912; all p < 0.001) with substantial and similar reductions (0.701 to 0.757) in the presence of AF. All 3 peptides were independently prognostic but there was no interaction between any peptide and AF for prediction of all-cause mortality.

CONCLUSIONS: AF is associated with increased plasma natriuretic peptide (MR-proANP, BNP and NT-proBNP) levels in the absence of HF. The diagnostic performance of all three peptides is impaired by AF. This warrants consideration of adjusted peptide thresholds for diagnostic use in AF and mandates the continued search for markers free of confounding by AF.

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