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PLoS One. 2013 May 7;8(5):e62612. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062612. Print 2013.

Biomarkers of cardiac dysfunction and mortality from community-acquired pneumonia in adults.

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  • 1Department of Respiratory Medicine, Waikato Hospital, Hamilton, New Zealand.



Cardiac dysfunction is common in acute respiratory diseases and may influence prognosis. We hypothesised that blood levels of N-terminal B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) and high-sensitivity Troponin T would predict mortality in adults with community-acquired pneumonia.


A prospective cohort of 474 consecutive patients admitted with community-acquired pneumonia to two New Zealand hospitals over one year. Blood taken on admission was available for 453 patients and was analysed for NT-proBNP and Troponin T. Elevated levels of NT-proBNP (>220 pmol/L) were present in 148 (33%) and 86 (19%) of these patients respectively. Among the 26 patients who died within 30 days of admission, 23 (89%) had a raised NT-proBNP and 14 (53%) had a raised Troponin T level on admission compared to 125 (29%) and 72 (17%) of the 427 who survived (p values<0.001). Both NT-proBNP and Troponin T predicted 30-day mortality in age-adjusted analysis but after mutual adjustment for the other cardiac biomarker and the Pneumonia Severity Index, a raised N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide remained a predictor of 30-day mortality (OR = 5.3, 95% CI 1.4-19.8, p = 0.013) but Troponin T did not (OR = 1.3, 95% CI 0.5-3.2, p = 0.630). The areas under the receiver-operating curves to predict 30-day mortality were similar for NT-proBNP (0.88) and the Pneumonia Severity Index (0.87).


Elevated N-terminal B-type natriuretic peptide is a strong predictor of mortality from community-acquired pneumonia independent of clinical prognostic indicators. The pathophysiological basis for this is unknown but suggests that cardiac involvement may be an under-recognised determinant of outcome in pneumonia and may require a different approach to treatment. In the meantime, measurement of B-type natriuretic peptides may help to assess prognosis.

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