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Heart Fail Rev. 2014 Nov;19(6):727-42. doi: 10.1007/s10741-014-9422-2.

The potential and limitations of plasma BNP measurement in the diagnosis, prognosis, and management of children with heart failure due to congenital cardiac disease: an update.

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Fondazione Toscana G. Monasterio, Ospedale del Cuore, via Aurelia Sud, 54100, Massa, Pisa, Italy,


The aim of this article is to review the diagnostic and prognostic relevance of measurement of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) and N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) in pediatric patients with heart failure caused by various acquired and congenital heart diseases (CHD). In January 2013, we performed a computerized literature search in the National Library of Medicine (PubMed access to MEDLINE citations; ). The search strategy included a mix of Medical Subject Headings and free-text terms for the key concepts, starting from BNP assay and 'NT-proBNP assay', children, CHD. The search was further refined by adding the keywords neonate/s, newborn/s, heart failure, cardiomyopathy, screening, prognosis, follow-up, and management. BNP values are age and method dependent, even in pediatric populations. Regardless of age, there is great variability in BNP/NT-proBNP values within CHD characterized by different hemodynamic and clinical conditions. There is enough evidence to support the use of BNP/NT-proBNP as an adjunctive marker in the integrated evaluation of patients with congenital and acquired heart disease to help define severity and progression of heart failure as well in the monitoring of response to treatment. BNP/NT-proBNP can also be used for the screening of heart failure and as a prognostic marker in children undergoing cardiac surgery; however, to date, there are studies with heterogeneous patient groups, and diverse outcome measures selected are still few. BNP/NT-proBNP can be used as adjunctive markers in the integrated screening, diagnosis, management, and follow-up of children with heart failure caused by various acquired and congenital heart disease.

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