Objectives: This study examines B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels in patients with systolic versus non-systolic dysfunction presenting with shortness of breath.
Background: Preserved systolic function is increasingly common in patients presenting with symptoms of congestive heart failure (CHF) but is still difficult to diagnose.
Methods: The Breathing Not Properly Multinational Study was a seven-center, prospective study of 1,586 patients who presented with acute dyspnea and had BNP measured upon arrival. A subset of 452 patients with a final adjudicated diagnosis of CHF who underwent echocardiography within 30 days of their visit to the emergency department (ED) were evaluated. An ejection fraction of greater than 45% was defined as non-systolic CHF.
Results: Of the 452 patients with a final diagnosis of CHF, 165 (36.5%) had preserved left ventricular function on echocardiography, whereas 287 (63.5%) had systolic dysfunction. Patients with non-systolic heart failure (NS-CHF) had significantly lower BNP levels than those with systolic heart failure (S-CHF) (413 pg/ml vs. 821 pg/ml, p < 0.001). As the severity of heart failure worsened by New York Heart Association class, the percentage of S-CHF increased, whereas the percentage of NS-CHF decreased. When patients with NS-CHF were compared with patients without CHF (n = 770), a BNP value of 100 pg/ml had a sensitivity of 86%, a negative predictive value of 96%, and an accuracy of 75% for detecting abnormal diastolic dysfunction. Using Logistic regression to differentiate S-CHF from NS-CHF, BNP entered first as the strongest predictor followed by oxygen saturation, history of myocardial infarction, and heart rate.
Conclusions: We conclude that NS-CHF is common in the setting of the ED and that differentiating NS-CHF from S-CHF is difficult in this setting using traditional parameters. Whereas BNP add modest discriminatory value in differentiating NS-CHF from S-CHF, its major role is still the separation of patients with CHF from those without CHF.