This study aimed to assess whether the combination of a B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) level with various noninvasive hemodynamic parameters can help physicians more quickly and accurately diagnose congestive heart failure and determine the type of left ventricular dysfunction present in patients presenting to the emergency department with dyspnea. Subjects were 98 men (aged 64.57+/-1.23 years) that presented to the VA San Diego Healthcare System. Hemodynamic parameters were measured using impedance cardiography, and BNP levels were quantified using a rapid immunoassay. All patients with a BNP <100 pg/mL (n=37) had no evidence of congestive heart failure 97% of the time. In those with a BNP >100 pg/mL (601+/-55 pg/mL; n=61), a cardiac index of 2.6 L/min/m2 is 65% sensitive and 88% specific in determining systolic dysfunction. In patients with a BNP >100 pg/mL, a multivariate model consisting of noninvasive hemodynamic measurements was able to predict cardiac deaths, readmissions, and emergency department visits within 90 days with 83% accuracy. The authors conclude that, in patients presenting to an emergency department with dyspnea, the addition of impedance cardiography measurements to BNP level measurements will more effectively diagnose congestive heart failure and determine both the type of heart dysfunction and the severity of illness.