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Log-transformation improves the prognostic value of serial NT-proBNP levels in apparently stable pulmonary arterial hypertension.

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Doughty, Natalie J 
Treacy, Carmen M 
Ross, Robert M 


N-terminal pro B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) is a product of cleavage of the cardiac prohormone pro B-type natriuretic peptide into its active form. It has proven to be a useful biomarker in left heart failure. However, studies examining the utility of serial measurements of NT-proBNP in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) patients have shown mixed results. We compared three methods of predicting adverse clinical outcomes in PAH patients: the change in 6 minute walk distance (6MWD), the change in absolute levels of NT-proBNP and the change in log-transformed levels of NT-proBNP. All PAH patients presenting from March-June 2007 were screened. Patients who were clinically unstable, had abnormal renal function or hemoglobin levels or lacked a prior NT-proBNP were excluded. 63 patients were followed up for adverse clinical outcomes (defined as death, transplantation, hospitalisation for right heart failure, or need for increased therapy). Three methods were used to predict adverse events, i.e.: (a) comparing a 6MWD performed in March-June 2007 and a previous 6MWD. A decrease in 6MWD of ≥30m was used to predict clinical deterioration; (b) comparing a NT-proBNP value measured in March-June 2007 and a previous NT-proBNP. An increase in NT-proBNP of ≥250pg/ml was used to predict clinical deterioration (250pg/ml represented approximately 30% change from the baseline median value of NT-proBNP for this cohort); and (c) comparing the loge equivalents of two consecutive NT-proBNP values. We used the formula: loge(current NT-proBNP) - loge(previous NT-proBNP)=x. A value of x≥+0.26 was used to predict adverse events. This is equivalent to a 30% change from baseline, and hence is comparable to the chosen cut-off for absolute levels of NT-proBNP. A loge difference of ≥+0.26 identifies patients at risk of adverse events with a specificity of 98%, a sensitivity of 60%, a positive predictive value of 89%, and a negative predictive value of 90%. A drop in 6MWD of ≥30m has a specificity of 29%, a sensitivity of 73%, a positive predictive value of 24% and a negative predictive value of 24%. It seems possible to risk-stratify apparently stable PAH patients by following the changes in their serial log-transformed NT-proBNP values. In this small pilot study, this method was better than relying on changes in the actual levels of NT-proBNP or changes in 6MWD. This needs to be validated prospectively in a larger cohort.



6-minute walk distance, N-terminal pro B-type natriuretic peptide, biomarker

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Pulm Circ

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Medical Research Council (G0802261)
Medical Research Council (G0802261/1)