Aims: Heart failure (HF) is common among the elderly patients. It is essential to identify those at high risk in order to optimize the use of resources. We aimed to evaluate whether a combination of two biomarkers might give better prognostic information about the risk of cardiovascular (CV) mortality in patients with symptoms associated with HF, compared with only one biomarker.
Methods and results: Four hundred and sixty-four primary health-care patients (mean age 73 years, range 65-87) with symptoms of HF were examined. All patients were evaluated using Doppler echocardiography and blood samples, including measurement of cystatin C and NT-proBNP. The patients were followed over a 10-year period. Patients with serum cystatin C levels within the highest quartile had almost three times the risk (HR: 2.92; 95% CI: 1.23-4.90) of CV mortality compared with those patients who had levels within the first, second, or third quartiles. If, at the same time, the patient had a plasma concentration of NT-proBNP within the highest quartile, the risk increased to >13 times (HR: 13.61; 95% CI: 2.56-72.24) during 10 years of follow-up or >17 times (HR: 17.04; 95% CI: 1.80-163.39) after 5 years of follow-up.
Conclusion: Combined analysis of cystatin C and NT-proBNP could provide important prognostic information among elderly patients in the community with symptoms of HF.