Use of natriuretic peptide assay in dyspnea

Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2008 Feb;105(6):95-100. doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2008.0095. Epub 2008 Feb 8.


Introduction: Acute dyspnea is a common symptom in patients admitted to hospital via emergency department. Heart failure is a common cause with high morbidity and mortality, but diagnostically challenging. Improvement in diagnostic techniques is needed.

Methods: Selective search of Medline.

Results: B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) and its N-terminal fragment (NT-proBNP) are extremely helpful in the diagnosis of heart failure in patients with acute dyspnea. The use of natriuretic peptide assay has also been shown to be cost-effective. Since plasma levels of natriuretic peptides reflect the extent of systolic and diastolic dysfunction, measurement of natriuretic peptides is helpful in estimating overall risk in patients with heart failure or acute myocardial infarction. They have also been used in the management of patients with valvular disease and in tailoring therapy in patients with heart failure.

Discussion: BNP and NT-proBNP are quantitative markers of heart failure that are helpful for diagnosis, prognosis and treatment monitoring.

Keywords: acute dyspnea; acute heart failure; diagnosis; natriuretic peptides; prognosis.