Aims: Decreased N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) during treatment of chronic heart failure (CHF) is associated with improved prognosis. However, there is lack of data from community-based HF programmes. We hypothesized that plasma levels of NT-proBNP, measured after optimization of pharmacotherapy in patients with CHF, may provide independent prognostic information when compared with baseline values and conventional prognostic markers.
Methods and results: N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide was measured in 354 patients with CHF and left ventricular ejection fraction <45%, who had recently been enrolled in a community-based HF programme. Patients underwent a 6 min walk test and clinical, echocardiographic and laboratory examinations. Pharmacotherapy was optimized; 318 patients survived until the second examination and measurement of NT-proBNP, which was performed between the 4th and 6th month of follow-up. During a median follow-up of 38.8 months, 125 patients died. Follow-up log NT-proBNP was a better predictor of death than either baseline log NT-proBNP or change in NT-proBNP (chi(2): 46.5 vs. 30.4 and 12.5, all P < 0.001). N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide was consistently the strongest independent prognostic marker at predicting death or unplanned cardiovascular hospitalizations after baseline or follow-up assessment.
Conclusion: The measurement of NT-proBNP after optimization of pharmacotherapy provides stronger prognostic information than either the baseline value, the change in NT-proBNP, or other conventional methods of assessment.