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Clin Chem Lab Med. 2013 Jun;51(6):1155-65. doi: 10.1515/cclm-2012-0503.

The diagnostic utility of brain natriuretic peptide in heart failure patients presenting with acute dyspnea: a meta-analysis.

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  • Laboratory Medicine Department, Azienda Ospedaliera S. G. Moscati, Avellino, Italy. pamastandrea1906@aosgmoscati.av.it


Heart failure with normal ejection fraction (HFNEF) accounts for approximately 50% of heart failure (HF) cases. To establish the utility of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) in differentiating HF-related severe dyspnea from non-HF-related acute dyspnea, we used an estimation formula (eF) that was obtained from a series of three meta-regressions. We selected 60 out of 2721 case-control and follow-up studies that were published from 1998 to 2010. The heart failure levels (HFLs) were assessed using the New York Heart Association (NYHA) criteria. Random-effects meta-regression analyses of the natural logarithm (ln) of the BNP odds ratio (OR) were performed on the HFLs. The ln of the median BNP values (lnmBNP) was meta-regressed over the laboratory method (LM). A third meta-regression was performed on the HFLs to account for only the lnmBNP in the homogeneous LM subgroups. To determine the eF, the data from the diseased and control subjects were combined. The Bland-Altman method was used to detect eF bias. The overall BNP(OR) in the subgroup with severe HF was 35. The lnmBNP analysis showed that LM was a significant heterogeneity factor in the meta-regression (slope -0.38; CI -0.59 to -0.16). The meta-regression of lnmBNP on the HFL resulted in the following calculation for eF: estimated HFL (eHFL)=(lnmBNP-3.157)/0.886. The Bland-Altman test revealed no significant difference (0.0997; 95% CI -2.84 to 3.06) between HFL and eHFL. The severe eHFL showed a 78% accuracy. Based on the eF obtained from this meta-analysis, the BNP outcomes were shown to reliably diagnose severe dyspnea in HF and differentiate this condition from non-HF acute dyspnea.

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