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Elevated NT-ProBNP as a Cardiovascular Disease Risk Equivalent: Evidence from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study

      Abstract

      Background

      It remains unclear whether elevated N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) can serve as a “risk equivalent” for cardiovascular disease to adults at high cardiovascular risk.

      Methods

      We included 9789 participants (mean age 63.2 years, 55% women, 19.4% Black, 13% with a history of cardiovascular disease) who attended Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study Visit 4 (1996-1998). We classified participants as having a history of cardiovascular disease at baseline and, among those without cardiovascular disease, we defined categories of NT-proBNP (<125, 125-449, ≥450 pg/mL). We used Cox regression to estimate associations of NT-proBNP with incident cardiovascular disease and mortality.

      Results

      Over a median 20.5 years of follow-up, there were 4562 deaths (917 cardiovascular deaths). There were 2817 first events and 806 recurrent events (in those with a history of cardiovascular disease at baseline). Among individuals without a history of cardiovascular disease, those adults with NT-proBNP ≥450 pg/mL had significantly higher risks of all-cause death (hazard ratio [HR] 2.12; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.78-2.53), cardiovascular mortality (HR 2.92; 95% CI, 2.15-3.97), incident total cardiovascular disease (HR 2.59; 95% CI, 2.13-3.16), atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (HR 2.20; 95% CI, 1.72-2.80), and heart failure (HR 3.81; 95% CI, 3.01-4.81), compared with individuals with NT-proBNP <125 pg/mL. The elevated cardiovascular risk in persons with high NT-proBNP and no history of cardiovascular disease was similar to, or higher than, the risk conferred by a history of cardiovascular disease.

      Conclusions

      Our findings suggest that it might be appropriate to manage adults with NT-proBNP ≥450 pg/mL as if they had a history of clinical cardiovascular disease.

      Keywords

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