Aims: To quantify the ability of N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT pro-BNP) to predict mortality and hospitalization in patients with chronic obstructive airways disease (COPD).
Methods: Prospective single-centre observational study of 140 consecutive patients aged at least 18 years with COPD between 27 March 2004 and 28 February 2008 (median follow-up 3.9 years).
Results: Sixty-five (46%) men, 26 (19%) O2 therapy, 115 (82%) smokers, 38 (27%) patients receiving diuretics, 15 (11%) left-ventricular ejection fraction less than 45%. Median [interquartile range (IQR)] NT pro-BNP concentration 16.2 (25.4) pmol/l. NT pro-BNP was higher in those with a dilated left atrium (P<0.001), aortic stenosis (P=0.02), left-ventricular systolic dysfunction (P=0.027), right ventricular impairment (P=0.011), atrial fibrillation (P<0.001), patients receiving diuretics (P=0.010) and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (P=0.006). One-year mortality and hospitalization rates were 2.9 and 25.4%. The median (IQR) time to hospitalization and length of first hospital stay: 383.5 (605) and 4.0 (7.0) days. NT pro-BNP was an excellent discriminator of right-ventricular impairment (C statistic=0.90) and predicted survival (highest quartile versus lowest quartile relative risk=3.02, P=0.001), but not hospital admission. After adjustment this association was not significant.
Conclusion: NT pro-BNP predicts survival, but not hospital admission in patients with COPD. The ability of NT pro-BNP to independently predict death or hospitalization is superseded by the presence of a dilated left atrium, aortic stenosis and left-ventricular systolic dysfunction.