Cystatin C and NT-proBNP, a powerful combination of biomarkers for predicting cardiovascular mortality in elderly patients with heart failure: results from a 10-year study in primary care

Eur J Heart Fail. 2009 Apr;11(4):354-60. doi: 10.1093/eurjhf/hfp024. Epub 2009 Feb 19.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Cystatin C / blood*
  • Echocardiography
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Failure / blood
  • Heart Failure / diagnosis
  • Heart Failure / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Luminescent Measurements
  • Male
  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain / blood*
  • Nephelometry and Turbidimetry
  • Peptide Fragments / blood*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Protein Precursors
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Time Factors


  • Biomarkers
  • Cystatin C
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Protein Precursors
  • pro-brain natriuretic peptide (1-76)
  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain