Neuroendocrine prediction of left ventricular function and heart failure after acute myocardial infarction. The Christchurch Cardioendocrine Research Group

A M Richards, M G Nicholls, T G Yandle, H Ikram, E A Espiner, J G Turner, R C Buttimore, J G Lainchbury, J M Elliott, C Frampton, I G Crozier, D W Smyth
Heart 1999, 81 (2): 114-20

OBJECTIVE: To determine the relations of plasma levels of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), atrial natriuretic factor (ANF), N-terminal ANF (N-ANF), cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP; the cardiac peptide second messenger), and plasma catecholamines to left ventricular function and to prognosis in patients admitted with acute myocardial infarction.

DESIGN: Plasma hormones and ventricular function (radionuclide ventriculography) were measured 1-4 days after myocardial infarction in 220 patients admitted to a single coronary care unit. Radionuclide scanning was repeated 3-5 months after infarction. Clinical events were recorded over a mean period of 14 months.

RESULTS: Both early and late left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) were most closely related to plasma BNP (r = -0.60, n = 220, p < 0.001; and r = -0.53, n = 192, p < 0.001, respectively), followed by ANF, N-ANF, cGMP, and the plasma catecholamines. Early plasma BNP concentrations less than twofold the upper limit of normal (20 pmol/l) had 100% negative predictive value for LVEF < 40% at 3-5 months after infarction. In multivariate analysis incorporating all the neurohormonal factors, only BNP remained independently predictive of LVEF < 40% (p < 0.005). Survival analysis by median levels of candidate predictors identified BNP as the most powerful discriminator for death (p < 0.0001). No early deaths (within 4 months) occurred in patients with plasma BNP concentrations below the group median (27 pmol/l), and over follow up only three of 26 deaths occurred in this subgroup. Of all episodes of left ventricular failure, 85% occurred in patients with plasma BNP above the median (p < 0.001). In multivariate analyses, BNP alone gave additional predictive information beyond sex, age, clinical history, LVEF, and plasma noradrenaline for both subsequent onset of LVF and death.

CONCLUSIONS: Plasma BNP measured within 1-4 days of acute myocardial infarction is a powerful independent predictor of left ventricular function, heart failure, or death over the subsequent 14 months, and superior to ANF, N-ANF, cGMP, and plasma catecholamines.

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