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Arq Bras Cardiol. 2002 Dec;79(6):569-72, 564-8.

The role of B-type natriuretic peptide in the diagnosis of congestive heart failure in patients presenting to an emergency department with dyspnea.

[Article in English, Portuguese]

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  • 1Hospital Pró-Cardíaco - Unidade de Emergência, Rio de Janeiro, RJ - Brasil.



To determine the utility of B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) in the diagnosis of congestive heart failure (CHF) in patients presenting with dyspnea to an emergency department (ED).


Seventy patients presenting with dyspnea to an ED from April to July 2001 were included in the study. Mean age was 72+/-16 years and 33 (47%) were male. BNP was measured in all patients at the moment of admission to the ED. Emergency-care physicians, blinded to BNP values, were required to assign a probable initial diagnosis. A cardiologist retrospectively reviewed the data (blinded to BNP measurements) and assigned a definite diagnosis, which was considered the gold standard for assessing the diagnostic performance of BNP.


The mean BNP concentration was higher in patients with CHF (n=36) than in those with other diagnoses (990+/-550 vs 80+/-67 pg/mL, p<0.0001). Patients with systolic dysfunction had higher BNP levels than those with preserved systolic function (1,180+/-641 vs 753+/-437 pg/mL, p=0.03). At a blood concentration of 200 pg/mL, BNP showed a sensitivity of 100%, specificity of 97.1%, positive predictive value of 97.3%, and negative predictive value of 100%. The application of BNP could have potentially corrected all 16 cases in which the diagnosis was missed by the emergency department physician.


BNP measurement is a useful tool in the diagnosis of CHF in patients presenting to the ED with dyspnea.

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