Objectives: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a significant public health issue due to its high prevalence in the general population, and is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular (CV) events including systemic thrombo-embolism, heart failure, and coronary artery disease. The relationship between plasma B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) and CV risk in real world AF subjects remains unknown.
Methods: The subject of the study (n = 228; mean age = 69 years) was unselected individuals with AF in a community-based population (n = 15,394; AF prevalence rate = 1.5%). The CV event free rate within each BNP tertile was estimated, and Cox regression analysis was performed to examine the relative risk of the onset of CV events among the tertiles. The prognostic ability of BNP was compared to an established risk score for embolic events (CHADS2 score). In addition, to determine the usefulness of BNP as a predictor in addition to CHADS2 score, we calculated Net Reclassification Improvement (NRI) and Integrated Discrimination Improvement (IDI) indices.
Results: During the follow-up period 58 subjects experienced CV events (52 per 1,000 person-years). The event-free ratio was significantly lower in the highest tertile (p < 0.02). After adjustment for established CV risk factors, the hazard ratio (HR) of the highest tertile was significantly higher than that of the lowest tertile (HR = 2.38; p < 0.02). The predictive abilities of plasma BNP in terms of sensitivity and specificity for general CV events were comparable to those of CHADS2 score. Adding BNP to the CHADS2 score only model improved the NRI (0.319; p < 0.05) and the IDI (0.046; p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Plasma BNP is a valuable biomarker both singly or in combination with an established scoring system for assessing general CV risk including stroke, heart failure and acute coronary syndrome in real-world AF subjects.