Background: To evaluate diagnostic and long-term prognostic values of hFABP compared to NT-proBNP and troponin I (TnI) in patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) suspected of acute heart failure (AHF).
Methods: 401 patients with acute dyspnea or peripheral edema, 122 suffering from AHF, were prospectively enrolled and followed up to 5 years. hFABP combined with NT-proBNP versus NT-proBNP alone was tested for AHF diagnosis. Prognostic value of hFABP versus TnI was evaluated in models predicting all-cause mortality (ACM) and AHF related rehospitalization (AHF-RH) at 1 and 5 years, including 11 conventional risk factors plus NT-proBNP.
Results: Additional hFABP measurements improved diagnostic specificity and positive predictive value (PPV) of sole NT-proBNP testing at the cutoff <300 ng/l to "rule out" AHF. Highest hFABP levels (4th quartile) were associated with increased ACM (hazard ratios (HR): 2.1-2.5; p = 0.04) and AHF-RH risk at 5 years (HR 2.8-8.3, p = 0.001). ACM was better characterized in prognostic models including TnI, whereas AHF-RH was better characterized in prognostic models including hFABP. Cox analyses revealed a 2 % increase of ACM risk and 3-7 % increase of AHF-RH risk at 5 years by each unit increase of hFABP of 10 ng/ml.
Conclusions: Combining hFABP plus NT-proBNP (<300 ng/l) only improves diagnostic specificity and PPV to rule out AHF. hFABP may improve prognosis for long-term AHF-RH, whereas TnI may improve prognosis for ACM.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00143793 .