Objectives: This study investigated the prognostic value of detectable cardiac troponin T (TnT) and elevated N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) levels in a population of community-dwelling older adults.
Background: Minimally elevated levels of TnT, a marker of cardiomyocyte injury, have been found in small subsets of the general population, with uncertain implications. A marker of ventricular stretch, NT-proBNP has clinical utility in many venues, but its long-term prognostic value in apparently healthy older adults and in conjunction with TnT is unknown.
Methods: Participants were 957 older adults from the Rancho Bernardo Study with plasma NT-proBNP and TnT measured at baseline (1997 to 1999) and followed up for mortality through July 2006.
Results: Participants with detectable TnT (>/=0.01 ng/ml, n = 39) had an increased risk of all-cause and cardiovascular death (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] by Cox proportional hazards analysis: 2.06; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.29 to 3.28, p = 0.003 for all-cause mortality; HR: 2.06, 95% CI: 1.03 to 4.12, p = 0.040 for cardiovascular mortality); elevated NT-proBNP also predicted an increased risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality (adjusted HR per unit-log increase in NT-proBNP: 1.85, 95% CI: 1.36 to 2.52, p < 0.001 for all-cause mortality; HR: 2.51, 95% CI: 1.55 to 4.08, p < 0.001 for cardiovascular mortality). Those with both elevated NT-proBNP and detectable TnT had poorer survival (HR for high NT-proBNP and detectable TnT vs. low NT-proBNP and any TnT: 3.20, 95% CI: 1.91 to 5.38, p < 0.001). Exclusion of the 152 participants with heart disease at baseline did not materially change the TnT mortality or NT-proBNP mortality associations.
Conclusions: Apparently healthy adults with detectable TnT or elevated NT-proBNP levels are at increased risk of death. Those with both TnT and NT-proBNP elevations are at even higher risk, and the increased risk persists for years.