Physicians' Academy for Cardiovascular Education

NT-proBNP levels predict outcomes in HF patients with or without atrial fibrillation

Prognostic Value of N-Terminal Pro-B-Type Natriuretic Peptide Levels in Heart Failure Patients With and Without Atrial Fibrillation

Literature - Kristensen SL, Jhund PS, Mogensen UM, et al. PARADIGM-HF and ATMOSPHERE Committees and Investigators - Circ Heart Fail. 2017 Oct;10(10). doi: 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.117.004409

Main results

Conclusion

In a meta-analysis of the PARADIGM-HF and ATMOSPHERE trials, any given concentration of NT-proBNP above 400 pg/mL, had a similar predictive value for adverse outcomes in HFrEF patients with and without AF. These data suggest that although NT-proBNP levels are, on average, higher in patients with AF, this does not diminish their prognostic significance. Thus, this does not justify the now common policy to apply higher qualifying NT-proBNP levels for inclusion of AF patients in clinical trials.

Editorial comment

In their editorial article, Voors and Lam [6] highlight the importance of the findings in two contexts:

  • The clinical trial context, in which higher NT-proBNP levels are required to include AF patients. The authors note that this policy may lead to a selection bias of higher risk patients, and it caps the inclusion of AF patients in these trials.
  • The clinical practice context, in which physicians thought that patients with HF and AF were ‘justified’ to have higher NT-proBNP levels, a myth that may influence the selection of therapeutic strategies.

The authors conclude: ‘Taken together, the data from the current study by Kristensen et al provide important lessons about the use of NT-proBNP in HF and AF. However, several key questions still need to be addressed, in particular the diagnostic thresholds of NPs in HF with versus without AF, the prognostic use of NPs in AF without HF, and the optimal NP cutoffs in HF with preserved ejection fraction, with and without AF.’

References

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Find this article online at Circulation: Heart Failure

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