Rationale: The detection of pulmonary hypertension in patients with chronic lung disease has prognostic implications. The brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) has been suggested as a noninvasive marker for the presence and severity of pulmonary hypertension.
Objectives: We evaluated circulating BNP levels as a parameter for the presence and severity of pulmonary hypertension in patients with chronic lung disease.
Methods: BNP levels were measured in 176 consecutive patients with various pulmonary diseases. Right heart catheterization, lung functional testing, and a 6-min walk test were performed. The mean follow-up time was nearly 1 yr.
Measurements and main results: Significant pulmonary hypertension (mean pulmonary artery pressure > 35 mm Hg) was diagnosed in more than one-fourth of patients and led to decreased exercise tolerance and life expectancy. Elevated BNP concentrations identified significant pulmonary hypertension with a sensitivity of 0.85 and specificity of 0.88 and predicted mortality. Moreover, BNP served as a risk factor of death independent of lung functional impairment or hypoxemia in uni- and multivariate analysis.
Conclusion: We suggest BNP as a prognostic marker and as screening parameter for significant pulmonary hypertension in chronic lung disease.