Background: N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) is a byproduct of the brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) that was shown to be of prognostic value in pulmonary hypertension (PH). The role of NT-proBNP in PH has to be determined, especially under the influence of renal impairment that might lead to an accumulation of the peptide, and may be a sign of increased mortality per se.
Methods: We assessed NT-proBNP, BNP, renal function, and hemodynamic parameters (during right-heart catheterization) in 118 consecutive patients with isolated PH, excluding left-heart disease. Depending on the calculated creatinine clearance, patients were classified into different groups of renal function. Correlation analysis was performed on all key parameters. Results were then compared between the levels of renal function. The prognostic value of each parameter was assessed during a mean follow-up period of 10 months.
Results: Twenty-two patients (approximately 19%) had significantly impaired renal function (creatinine clearance < 60 mL/min). Although the overall levels of NT-proBNP were correlated with hemodynamics, we observed no correlation in the group with significant renal dysfunction. Moreover, NT-proBNP was related to creatinine clearance. Finally, NT-proBNP and renal insufficiency were independent predictors of death during univariate and multivariate analysis, whereas BNP only predicted mortality in univariate analysis.
Conclusions: The diagnostic accuracy of NT-proBNP as a parameter of the hemodynamic status is diminished by renal function. However, NT-proBNP could be superior to BNP as a survival parameter in PH because it integrates hemodynamic impairment and renal insufficiency, which serves as a sign of increased mortality per se.