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Chest. 2005 Jul;128(1):21-9.

B-type natriuretic peptide and echocardiographic determination of ejection fraction in the diagnosis of congestive heart failure in patients with acute dyspnea.

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Cardiology, Hôpital Bichat-Claude Bernard, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, 46 rue Henri Huchard, 75877 Paris Cedex 18, France.



Echocardiography and B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) are diagnostic tests for congestive heart failure (CHF), but an emergency diagnosis can be difficult.


To assess the diagnostic performance of BNP testing and echocardiographic assessment of left ventricular systolic function, separately and combined, for the identification of CHF in patients with acute dyspnea.


Prospective, multinational, multicenter study.


Patients presenting to emergency departments in seven hospitals between June 1999 and December 2000.


A total of 1,586 patients with acute dyspnea.


Echocardiographic determination of ejection fraction (EF) and point-of care BNP measurement for the diagnosis of CHF.


Seven hundred nine of the 1,586 patients underwent echocardiography; 492 patients (69.4%) had a final diagnosis of CHF. Patients with CHF were older (68.5 years vs 61.6 years, p < 0.0001), had a lower EF (39.5% vs 56.1%, p < 0.0001), and a higher BNP (683 pg/mL vs 129 pg/mL, p < 0.0001) than patients without CHF. Area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve for the diagnosis of CHF was significantly higher for BNP (0.89) than for EF (0.78; area under the ROC curve difference, 0.12; p < 0.0001). The sensitivity of BNP > or = 100 pg/mL for the diagnosis of CHF was 89%, and specificity was 73%. Values for EF < or = 50% had a sensitivity of 70% and a specificity of 77%. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that, in combination with clinical, ECG, and chest radiograph data, BNP > or = 100 pg/mL and EF < or = 50% remained independent predictors of CHF (odds ratios, 32.1 and 6.2, respectively). The proportions of patients who were correctly classified were 67% for BNP alone, 55% for EF alone, 82% for the two variables together, and 97.3% when clinical, ECG, and chest radiograph data were added.


BNP measurement was superior to two-dimensional echocardiographic determination of EF in identifying CHF, regardless of the threshold value. The two methods combined have marked additive diagnostic value.

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