Background: Growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15), high-sensitivity troponin, and N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide levels are predictive of death and cardiovascular events in healthy elderly subjects, patients with acute coronary syndrome, and patients with heart failure. High-sensitivity troponin I and N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide are also prognostic in patients with atrial fibrillation. We evaluated the prognostic value of GDF-15 alone and in addition to clinical characteristics and other biomarkers in patients with atrial fibrillation.
Methods and results: The Apixaban for Reduction in Stroke and Other Thromboembolic Events in Atrial Fibrillation (ARISTOTLE) trial randomized 18 201 patients with atrial fibrillation to apixaban or warfarin. Biomarkers were measured at randomization in 14 798 patients. Efficacy and safety outcomes during 1.9 years of follow-up were compared across quartiles of GDF-15 by use of Cox analyses adjusted for clinical characteristics, randomized treatment, and other biomarkers. The GDF-15 level showed a median of 1383 ng/L (interquartile range, 977-2052 ng/L). Annual rates of stroke or systemic embolism ranged from 0.9% to 2.03% (P<0.001); of major bleeding, from 1.22% to 4.53% (P<0.001); and of mortality, from 1.34% to 7.19% (P<0.001) in the lowest compared with the highest GDF-15 quartile. The prognostic information provided by GDF-15 was independent of clinical characteristics and clinical risk scores. Adjustment for the other cardiac biomarkers attenuated the prognostic value for stroke, whereas the prognostic value for mortality and major bleeding remained. Apixaban consistently reduced stroke, mortality, and bleeding, regardless of GDF-15 levels.
Conclusions: GDF-15 is a risk factor for major bleeding, mortality, and stroke in atrial fibrillation. The prognostic value for major bleeding and death remained even in the presence of N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide and high-sensitivity troponin I.
Clinical trial registration url: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT00412984.
Keywords: atrial fibrillation; biological markers; cardiovascular physiological processes; growth differentiation factor 15; natriuretic peptide, brain; risk assessment; troponin.
© 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.