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      The diagnostic accuracy of the natriuretic peptides in heart failure: systematic review and diagnostic meta-analysis in the acute care setting

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          Objectives To determine and compare the diagnostic accuracy of serum natriuretic peptide levels (B type natriuretic peptide, N terminal probrain natriuretic peptide (NTproBNP), and mid-regional proatrial natriuretic peptide (MRproANP)) in people presenting with acute heart failure to acute care settings using thresholds recommended in the 2012 European Society of Cardiology guidelines for heart failure.

          Design Systematic review and diagnostic meta-analysis.

          Data sources Medline, Embase, Cochrane central register of controlled trials, Cochrane database of systematic reviews, database of abstracts of reviews of effects, NHS economic evaluation database, and Health Technology Assessment up to 28 January 2014, using combinations of subject headings and terms relating to heart failure and natriuretic peptides.

          Eligibility criteria for selecting studies Eligible studies evaluated one or more natriuretic peptides (B type natriuretic peptide, NTproBNP, or MRproANP) in the diagnosis of acute heart failure against an acceptable reference standard in consecutive or randomly selected adults in an acute care setting. Studies were excluded if they did not present sufficient data to extract or calculate true positives, false positives, false negatives, and true negatives, or report age independent natriuretic peptide thresholds. Studies not available in English were also excluded.

          Results 37 unique study cohorts described in 42 study reports were included, with a total of 48 test evaluations reporting 15 263 test results. At the lower recommended thresholds of 100 ng/L for B type natriuretic peptide and 300 ng/L for NTproBNP, the natriuretic peptides have sensitivities of 0.95 (95% confidence interval 0.93 to 0.96) and 0.99 (0.97 to 1.00) and negative predictive values of 0.94 (0.90 to 0.96) and 0.98 (0.89 to 1.0), respectively, for a diagnosis of acute heart failure. At the lower recommended threshold of 120 pmol/L, MRproANP has a sensitivity ranging from 0.95 (range 0.90-0.98) to 0.97 (0.95-0.98) and a negative predictive value ranging from 0.90 (0.80-0.96) to 0.97 (0.96-0.98). At higher thresholds the sensitivity declined progressively and specificity remained variable across the range of values. There was no statistically significant difference in diagnostic accuracy between plasma B type natriuretic peptide and NTproBNP.

          Conclusions At the rule-out thresholds recommended in the 2012 European Society of Cardiology guidelines for heart failure, plasma B type natriuretic peptide, NTproBNP, and MRproANP have excellent ability to exclude acute heart failure. Specificity is variable, and so imaging to confirm a diagnosis of heart failure is required. There is no statistical difference between the diagnostic accuracy of plasma B type natriuretic peptide and NTproBNP. Introduction of natriuretic peptide measurement in the investigation of patients with suspected acute heart failure has the potential to allow rapid and accurate exclusion of the diagnosis.

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          Most cited references 64

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          ESC guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic heart failure 2012: The Task Force for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Acute and Chronic Heart Failure 2012 of the European Society of Cardiology. Developed in collaboration with the Heart Failure Association (HFA) of the ESC.

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            Rapid measurement of B-type natriuretic peptide in the emergency diagnosis of heart failure.

            B-type natriuretic peptide is released from the cardiac ventricles in response to increased wall tension. We conducted a prospective study of 1586 patients who came to the emergency department with acute dyspnea and whose B-type natriuretic peptide was measured with a bedside assay. The clinical diagnosis of congestive heart failure was adjudicated by two independent cardiologists, who were blinded to the results of the B-type natriuretic peptide assay. The final diagnosis was dyspnea due to congestive heart failure in 744 patients (47 percent), dyspnea due to noncardiac causes in 72 patients with a history of left ventricular dysfunction (5 percent), and no finding of congestive heart failure in 770 patients (49 percent). B-type natriuretic peptide levels by themselves were more accurate than any historical or physical findings or laboratory values in identifying congestive heart failure as the cause of dyspnea. The diagnostic accuracy of B-type natriuretic peptide at a cutoff of 100 pg per milliliter was 83.4 percent. The negative predictive value of B-type natriuretic peptide at levels of less than 50 pg per milliliter was 96 percent. In multiple logistic-regression analysis, measurements of B-type natriuretic peptide added significant independent predictive power to other clinical variables in models predicting which patients had congestive heart failure. Used in conjunction with other clinical information, rapid measurement of B-type natriuretic peptide is useful in establishing or excluding the diagnosis of congestive heart failure in patients with acute dyspnea. Copyright 2002 Massachusetts Medical Society.
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               SS Chugh (1964)

                Author and article information

                Role: academic clinical fellow in psychiatry
                Role: consultant cardiologist
                Role: senior research fellow
                Role: consultant cardiologist
                Role: professor of cardiology
                Role: professor of cardiology
                Role: professor of primary care research
                BMJ : British Medical Journal
                BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.
                4 March 2015
                : 350
                [1 ]Maudsley Hospital, South London and the Maudsley Mental Health Trust, London, UK
                [2 ]Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, Wonford, Exeter EX2 5DW, UK
                [3 ]National Clinical Guideline Centre, Royal College of Physicians, London, UK
                [4 ]South Yorkshire Cardiothoracic Centre, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK
                [5 ]National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London (Royal Brompton Hospital), London, UK
                [6 ]British Heart Foundation (BHF) Cardiovascular Research Centre, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
                [7 ]Primary Care Unit, Department of Public Health & Primary Care, Strangeways Research Laboratory, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
                Author notes
                Correspondence to: A J Ludman a.ludman@
                © Roberts et al 2015

                This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:




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