Purpose: Among patients admitted for treatment of heart failure, we aimed to evaluate the value of B-type natriuretic peptide levels in predicting subsequent death or hospital readmission.
Subjects and methods: We observed and followed 50 consecutive patients admitted with decompensated heart failure. B-type natriuretic peptide levels were measured using an immunofluorometric assay at admission and at discharge. We followed patients for 6 months and ascertained readmissions for cardiovascular causes and death.
Results: Forty-three patients were discharged. There were 20 events during follow-up (15 readmissions and 5 deaths). Mean (+/- SD) B-type natriuretic peptide levels decreased during the initial hospitalization, from 619 +/- 491 pg/mL to 328 +/- 314 pg/mL (P <0.001) among patients who were event free during follow-up, whereas declines were less marked among patients with hospital readmission or death (from 779 +/- 608 pg/mL to 643 +/- 465 pg/mL, P = 0.08). Among the 7 patients with in-hospital increases in B-type natriuretic peptide level, 6 had events, compared with 14 of the 36 patients whose levels declined (P = 0.04). An increase in B-type natriuretic peptide levels during hospital stay was associated with an increased event rate (hazard ratio [HR] = 3.3; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.3 to 8.8). Patients whose B-type natriuretic peptide level at discharge was above the median (321 pg/mL) had a somewhat higher rate of dying or being readmitted (HR = 2.3; 95% CI: 0.9 to 5.8).
Conclusion: These preliminary results in a small number of patients suggest that changes in B-type natriuretic peptide levels, as well as predischarge levels, are related to hospital readmission and death within 6 months.