Protein Test Gauges Heart Failure Risk

High blood levels of NT-proBNP can signal danger, study finds

THURSDAY, Nov. 17, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- A blood test measuring levels of a protein called NT-proBNP may help spot patients with heart failure, especially those at higher risk for death, a new international study concludes.

Researchers reporting in the Nov. 17 online issue of the European Heart Journal analyzed data from 1,256 patients -- 720 with acute heart failure -- from the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and the United States.

Patients who died within a little more than two months after the onset of heart failure symptoms had significantly higher blood levels of NT-proBNP. Those with the greatest increases in levels of the protein were at a fivefold increased risk of death, the team found.

"In an analysis of patients from several parts of the world, we showed that this test is greatly valuable in the diagnosis and prognosis of patients with both systolic and diastolic heart failure. It's a single blood test that can provide multiple pieces of important information," study co-author Dr James Januzzi Jr., of the cardiology division at Massachusetts General Hospital, said in a prepared statement.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about heart failure.

SOURCE: Massachusetts General Hospital, news release, Nov. 17, 2005
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