Background: Half of patients with heart failure (HF) have preserved left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). Neurohormonal activation characterizes the disease and measurement of plasma B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) indicates the severity of left ventricular dysfunction. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that measurement of BNP levels in ambulatory patients with HF and preserved LVEF can predict the occurrence of cardiovascular events in the next 6 months.
Methods and results: We enrolled 233 consecutive patients admitted to the Outpatient Heart Failure Clinic (OHFC), on stabilization after an episode of acute HF, with a LVEF > 50%. Standard echocardiography was performed and left ventricular systolic/diastolic function was assessed. Plasma BNP levels were measured on admission to OHFC. Patients were followed for 6 months; the main endpoint combined cardiovascular death or readmission for HF. Among the 233 patients discharged, 48 endpoints occurred (death: n = 15; readmission: n = 33). Receiver operated curve analysis shows that BNP levels are strong predictors of subsequent events (area under the curve = 0.84; CI = 0.78-0.88). Multivariate Cox regression showed that the cutoff values identified by receiver operated curve analysis (200-500 pg/mL) of the neurohormone are the most accurate predictors of events: HR = 2.2 (P < .04) and HR = 5.8 (P < .001), respectively, for 201-499 pg/mL and > or = 500 pg/mL ranges.
Conclusion: BNP level is a strong predictor for cardiovascular mortality and early readmission in patients with diastolic HF. The results suggest that BNP levels might be used successfully to guide the intensity of follow-up after a decompensation, because increased BNP levels were associated with a progressively bad prognosis.