Circulating cardiovascular biomarkers in recurrent atrial fibrillation: data from the GISSI-atrial fibrillation trial

J Intern Med. 2011 Feb;269(2):160-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2010.02287.x. Epub 2010 Oct 22.


Objective: we evaluated the prognostic role of circulating cardiovascular biomarkers in patients with a history of recent atrial fibrillation (AF).

Background: predicting long-term maintenance of sinus rhythm in patients with AF is difficult.

Methods: plasma concentrations of three specific cardiac markers [high-sensitivity troponin T (hsTnT), N-terminal probrain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) and mid-regional proatrial natriuretic peptide (MR-proANP)] and three stable fragments of vasoactive peptides [mid-regional proadrenomedullin (MR-proADM), copeptin (CT-proAVP) and CT-proendothelin-1 (CT-proET-1)] were measured at baseline and after 6 and 12 months in 382 patients enrolled in the GISSI-AF study, a prospective randomized trial to determine the effect of valsartan to reduce the recurrence of AF. The association between these markers, clinical characteristics and recurrence of AF was tested by univariate and multivariate Cox models.

Results: mean patient age was 68 ± 9 years (37.2% females). A total of 84.8% of patients had a history of hypertension. In total, 59.7% qualified for history of AF because of successful cardioversion, 11.8% because of two or more episodes of AF in the 6 months preceding randomization and 28.5% because of both. Patients in AF at 6 or 12 months (203 (53.1%) with first recurrence) had significantly higher concentrations of most biomarkers. Despite low baseline levels, higher concentrations of hsTnT {adjusted hazard ratio (HR) [95% confidence intervals (CIs) for 1 SD increment] (1.15 [1.04-1.28], P = 0.007), MR-proANP (1.15 [1.01-1.30], P = 0.04), NT-proBNP (1.24 [1.11-1.39], P = 0.0001) and CT-proET-1 (1.16 [1.01-1.33], P = 0.03) independently predicted higher risk of a first recurrence of AF. Changes over time of MR-proANP tended to predict subsequent recurrence (adjusted HR [95%CI]) (1.53 [0.98-2.37], P = 0.06).

Conclusion: circulating markers of cardiomyocyte injury/strain and endothelin are related to recurrence of AF in patients in sinus rhythm with a history of recent AF.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers / therapeutic use
  • Atrial Fibrillation / blood
  • Atrial Fibrillation / diagnosis*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / prevention & control
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Natriuretic Peptides / blood
  • Prognosis
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Tetrazoles / therapeutic use
  • Troponin T / blood
  • Valine / analogs & derivatives
  • Valine / therapeutic use
  • Valsartan


  • Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Blockers
  • Biomarkers
  • Natriuretic Peptides
  • Tetrazoles
  • Troponin T
  • Valsartan
  • Valine