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Herz. 2013 Sep;38(6):618-28. doi: 10.1007/s00059-013-3772-8. Epub 2013 Apr 17.

Natriuretic peptide-guided therapy: further research required for still-unresolved issues.

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Presidio Sanitario Intermedio "Elena d' Aosta", Cardiology Unit, Napoli, via Cagnazzi 29, 80137, Napoli, Italy,


It has been asserted that serial measurements of natriuretic peptides (NPs), i.e., B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) or the amino-terminal fragment of pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-pro BNP), could help modulate more accurately the intensity of drug treatment in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF). Nevertheless, there are still several open questions about the presumed role of NP-guided pharmacologic adjustment as a valuable strategy in this setting. In this review, we outline the main randomized controlled trials (RCTs) carried out to date regarding NP-guided therapy in CHF patients and we focus on some of the still-unresolved issues. In particular, we discuss which NP plasma level should be assumed as the optimal target level to be attained, and we debate the possible influence exerted by different age classes on clinical end points during NP-guided therapy. The possible advantages and limitations for the cardiovascular system arising from the functional activation of NPs in CHF patients are also discussed. Although the pooling of data derived from the RCTs demonstrates an overall effect of slightly significant improvement in clinical outcomes with the NP-guided approach, we have noted that there are some relatively large studies that failed to document a significant clinical improvement in terms of mortality and morbidity using an NP-guided strategy. Thus, in our opinion, larger and better conducted trials addressing the unresolved issues of NP-guided therapy should be undertaken in the future.

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