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Results from a 6-year follow-up of a Swedish population in primary care regarding b-type natriuretic peptide (bnp) and the aminoterminal fragment of proBNP (n-terminal proBNP) and risk for cardiovascular death in elderly patients with possible heart failure.
Linköping University, Department of Medicine and Care, Cardiology. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Sahlgren Academy at Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Department of Health and Society, Center for Medical Technology Assessment. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Medicine and Care, Cardiology. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6353-8041
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]


Heart failure is common in the elderly population and carries a serious prognosis. Identification of risk factors for cardiovascular mortality among primary care patients is important.


To evaluate EDTA-plasma brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) and the aminoterminal fragment of proBNP (N-terminal proBNP) as prognostic markers in elderly with symptoms of mild to moderate heart failure.


From 474 patients attending primary care for symptoms of dyspnoea, fatigue and/or peripheral oedema blood was sampled in plastic tubes containing EDTA in order to measure BNP by non-extraction immunoradiometric assay and of N-terminal proBNP by non-extraction radioimmunoassay. Patients were evaluated with respect to history and clinical- and laboratory examinations with particular reference to cardiac structure and function. Follow-up time was 6 years. A Cox regression analysis was performed to identify the weight of risk variables.


During the follow-up period of 6 years the total mortality was 16 % (75 patients out of 474), and cardiovascular mortality was 11% (52 patients). Cardiovascular mortality increased with increased plasma concentration of BNP or N-terminal proBNP. Both pep tides were useful prognostic markers for cardiovascular mortality in patients with heart failure. In those with the highest quartile of plasma concentration of BNP and N=terminal proBNP, 9.9 times and 5.0 times increased risk for CV death were identified respectively.

National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-84703OAI: diva2:561228
Available from: 2012-10-17 Created: 2012-10-17 Last updated: 2013-09-26Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Heart failure in primary health care: special emphasis on natriuretic peptides in the elderly
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Heart failure in primary health care: special emphasis on natriuretic peptides in the elderly
2003 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: This thesis focuses on heart failure among elderly patients in the community who usually are not included in studies on heart failure. The heart failure syndrome is an increasing problem in Western society. Severe heart failure is often easy to diagnose compared with light to moderate heart failure, which is more frequent in patients in the community,

Doppler echocardiography is the most commonly used method to objectively verify an abnormal cardiac function, mostly the systolic function. One goal of this thesis was to evaluate both the systolic and diastolic functions. Another goal was a study of the possible utility of the B-type natriuretic peptide, BNP (brain natriuretic peptide), and the amino terminal fragment of its precursor, proBNP (N-terminal proBNP) as tools in the diagnosis of heart failure in elderly patients.

Methods: In a primary health care setting, 510 elderly patients (age range 65-82 years) with symptoms and signs possibly associated with heart failure were examined concerning patient history, ongoing pharmacological treatment, clinical examination, chest x-ray, electrocardiogram, Doppler echo cardiography, and selected biochemical measurements of blood samples. Additionally, the natriuretic peptide BNP and the aminoterminal fragment of proBNP were analyzed for a possible influence of gender, age, impaired cardiac function assessed using Doppler echocardiography, other diseases, and phannacological treatment. We followed our study population for six years, carefully registering mortality with death certificates. This information was used in analyzing the risk of cardiovascular death based on Cox proportional hazard regression. We present a model for estimating the risk of cardiovascular death in the individual patient.

Results: Almost half of our study population [mean age 73 (SD 6) years] with symptoms of possible heart failure had signs of impaired cardiac function on Doppler echocardiography. Half of these individuals had isolated impairment of the diastolic function. Almost two thirds of the elderly patients who had an ejection fraction of less than 40% did not receive treatment with ACE inhibitors, one of the cornerstones in the treatment of heart failure.

BNP and N-terminal proBNP were equally effective in detecting impaired cardiac function. As a response to increased filling pressure they probably provide earlier information on the haemodynamic situation than Doppler echocardiography does.

In these elderly patients, functional class (NYHA class III: 7 times increased risk), in vivo examination by Doppler echo cardiography (EF<30%: 8 times increased risk) and the in vitro measurement of plasma BNP (>27.8 pmol/L: 11 times increased risk) and N-terminal proBNP (>109 pmol/L: 7 times increased risk) could be used as prognostic determinants in assessing the risk of cardiovascular death.

Conclusion: The results indicate that a focused patient history and clinical examination provides important information that is often sufficient for the prognostic evaluation of a patient with heart failure symptoms. Additional information may be obtained with Doppler echo cardiographic examination and measurement of plasma BNP or N-terminal proBNP. The relationship between BNPIN-terminal proBNP concentration and risk of cardiovascular death may be analysed to define decision limits for the concentrations of these peptides as regards further diagnostic procedures and/or phannaceutical treatment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2003. 111 p.
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 819
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-27454 (URN)12107 (Local ID)91-7373-508-6 (ISBN)12107 (Archive number)12107 (OAI)
Public defence
2003-11-06, Hälsans Hus, Hälsouniversitetet, Campus US, Linköpings Universitet, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2009-10-08 Created: 2009-10-08 Last updated: 2012-10-17Bibliographically approved

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