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J Card Fail. 2006 May;12(4):281-5.

B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels and ethnic disparities in perceived severity of heart failure: results from the Rapid Emergency Department Heart Failure Outpatient Trial (REDHOT) multicenter study of BNP levels and emergency department decision making in patients presenting with shortness of breath.

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  • 1University of California at San Diego, California, USA.



Previous studies have shown that in patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with heart failure, there is a disconnect between the perceived severity of congestive heart failure (CHF) by physicians and the severity as determined by B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels. Whether ethnicity plays a role in this discrepancy is unknown.


The Rapid Emergency Department Heart Failure Outpatient Trial (REDHOT) was a 10-center trial of 464 patients seen in the ED with acute dyspnea and BNP level higher than 100 pg/mL on arrival. Physicians were blinded to BNP levels. Patients were followed for 90 days after discharge. A total of 151 patients identified themselves as white (32.5%) and 294 as black (63.4%). Of these, 90% were hospitalized. African Americans were more likely to be perceived as New York Heart Association class I or II than whites (P = .01). Blacks who were discharged from the ED had higher median BNP levels than whites who were discharged (1293 vs. 533, P = .004). The median BNP of blacks who were discharged was actually higher than the median BNP of blacks who were admitted (1293 vs. 769, P = .04); the same did not hold true for whites. BNP was predictive of 90-day outcome in both blacks and whites; however, perceived severity of CHF, race, and ED disposition did not contribute to the prediction of events.


In patients presenting to the ED with heart failure, the disconnect between perceived severity of CHF and severity as determined by BNP levels is most pronounced in African Americans.

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