Background: The prediction of perioperative cardiovascular complications is important in the medical management of patients undergoing noncardiac surgery. Several indices have been developed, but a simpler, more practical and accurate method is needed. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) concentration before operation can be used to predict perioperative cardiovascular complications in elderly patients undergoing noncardiac surgery.
Methods and results: The study group comprised 279 patients older than 60 years who were scheduled for elective surgery. The plasma NT-proBNP concentration, clinical cardiac indices and left ventricular ejection fraction were measured prior to operation. The postoperative cardiac outcomes were followed and predictors for postoperative cardiac risk were identified. Cardiovascular complications occurred in 25 patients (9.0%). Age, the incidence of prior ischemic heart disease or congestive heart failure, and the plasma NT-proBNP concentration were significantly higher in patients with perioperative cardiovascular complications than in those without. Using receiver operating characteristic analysis to predict perioperative cardiovascular events, a cut-off value of 201 pg/ml was identified as the optimal predictor of perioperative complications, showing a sensitivity of 80.0% and specificity of 81.1%. Multivariate analysis revealed that NT-proBNP >201 pg/ml (odds ratio (OR) 7.6, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.2-26.6, p=0.003) and revised cardiac index > or =2 (OR 6.3, 95% CI 1.7-23.8, p=0.007) were independent predictors for perioperative cardiovascular complications.
Conclusions: Elevated NT-proBNP levels are independently associated with an increase in the risk of perioperative cardiovascular complications in elderly patients undergoing noncardiac and nonvascular operations.