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Stroke. 2014 Mar;45(3):696-701. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.113.003338. Epub 2014 Feb 11.

Usefulness of N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic Peptide levels for stroke risk prediction in anticoagulated patients with atrial fibrillation.

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  • 1From the Hematology and Medical Oncology Unit, Hospital Universitario Morales Meseguer, University of Murcia, Spain (V.R., J.G., V.V.); Departments of Cardiology (J.A.V., S.M.-F., E.J., C.M.P., M.V., F.M.) and Clinical Analysis (J.A.V., C.M.P.), Hospital Universitario Virgen de la Arrixaca, University of Murcia, Spain; and the University of Birmingham Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences, City Hospital, Birmingham, UK (G.Y.H.L.).



Oral anticoagulation is highly effective in reducing stroke and mortality in atrial fibrillation (AF). Several risk stratification schemes have been developed using clinical characteristics. Elevated levels of N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) are important markers of increased mortality and morbidity in congestive heart failure and general community population. The aim of our study was to assess the predictive value of NT-proBNP levels in an unselected real-world cohort of anticoagulated patients with AF.


We studied 1172 patients (49% male; median age, 76 years) with permanent AF who were well stabilized on oral anticoagulation (international normalized ratio, 2.0-3.0). Plasma NT-proBNP levels were quantified at baseline. We recorded thrombotic and vascular events, mortality, and major bleeding. The best cutoff points were assessed by receiver-operating characteristic curves.


Median levels (interquartile range) of NT-proBNP were 610 (318-1037) pg/mL. Median follow-up was 1007 (806-1279) days. On multivariate analysis, high NT-proBNP was significantly associated with the risk of stroke (hazards ratio, 2.71; P=0.001) and composite vascular events (acute coronary syndrome or acute heart failure; hazards ratio, 1.85; P=0.016), as well as a significant association with mortality (adjusted hazards ratio, 1.66; P=0.006). No association with bleeding was found (P=0.637). The integrated discrimination improvement (IDI) analysis demonstrated that NT-proBNP improved the Congestive heart failure, Hypertension, Age≥75 (doubled), Diabetes mellitus, Stroke (doubled)-Vascular disease and Sex category (female); CHA2DS2-VASc score for predicting embolic events (relative IDI, 2.8%; P=0.001) and all-cause death (relative IDI, 1.8%; P=0.001).


In real-world cohort of anticoagulated patients with AF, NT-proBNP provided complementary prognostic information to an established clinical risk score (CHA2DS2-VASc) for the prediction of stroke/systemic embolism. NT-proBNP was also predictive of all-cause mortality, suggesting that this biomarker may potentially be used to refine clinical risk stratification in anticoagulated patients with AF.


B-type natriuretic peptide; anticoagulants; atrial fibrillation; stroke

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