Background: Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have increased cardiovascular risk. Natriuretic peptides (NP) in other populations are useful in identifying cardiovascular disease, stratifying risk, and guiding therapy.
Methods: We performed a systematic literature review to examine NP in COPD, utilising Medline, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library.
Results: Fifty one studies were identified. NP levels were lower in stable compared to exacerbation of COPD, and significantly increased with concomitant left ventricular systolic dysfunction or cor pulmonale. Elevation occurred in 16 to 60% of exacerbations and persisted in approximately one half of patients at discharge. Cardiovascular comorbidities were associated with increased levels. Levels consistently correlated with pulmonary artery pressure and left ventricular ejection fraction, but not pulmonary function or oxygen saturation. NP demonstrated high negative predictive values (0.80 to 0.98) to exclude left ventricular dysfunction in both stable and exacerbation of COPD, but relatively low positive predictive values. NP elevation predicted early adverse outcomes, but the association with long term mortality was inconsistent.
Conclusion: NP reflect diverse aspects of the cardiopulmonary continuum which limits utility when applied in isolation. Strategies integrating NP with additional variables, biomarkers and imaging require further investigation.
Keywords: Biomarkers; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Heart failure; Natriuretic peptides.