Background: Endothelin-1 (ET-1) and cardiac natriuretic peptide plasma concentrations have prognostic significance in congestive heart failure (CHF). However, their respective prognostic values in this setting have never been directly compared.
Methods and results: We studied the prognostic performances of ET-1, N-terminal proatrial natriuretic factor (N-proANF), and brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) to predict the long-term cardiac mortality in fully treated patients with CHF. Peripheral plasma concentrations of the 3 peptides were measured in 109 patients (left ventricular ejection fraction [LVEF] < 35%) in New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional classes II (n = 65) or III to IV (n = 44). The outcome of the patients was evaluated 3 years after the beginning of the study, and a Cox regression model was used to identify predictors of death. Plasma concentrations of the 3 peptides increased with the severity of heart failure. By univariate analysis, 6 parameters were significantly associated with death during follow-up: ET-1 level, NYHA classes III to IV, N-proANF level, BNP level, LVEF, and age (all P < .01). By multivariate analysis, only ET-1 level and, to a lesser extent, N-proANF level contributed significantly and independently to risk stratification (chi2 = 53.4 and 12.8; P < .0001 and P < .001, respectively).
Conclusion: In a group of patients in whom the vast majority were administered angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor therapy, plasma ET-1 and N-proANF concentrations identify better than several clinical markers a very high-risk group, fairly amenable to heart transplantation or new therapies.