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Open Access Emerg Med. 2016 May 17;8:35-45. doi: 10.2147/OAEM.S71446. eCollection 2016.

Cardiopulmonary laboratory biomarkers in the evaluation of acute dyspnea.

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Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
Cardiovascular Division, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Dyspnea is a common chief complaint in the emergency department, with over 4 million visits annually in the US. Establishing the correct diagnosis can be challenging, because the subjective sensation of dyspnea can result from a wide array of underlying pathology, including pulmonary, cardiac, neurologic, psychiatric, toxic, and metabolic disorders. Further, the presence of dyspnea is linked with increased mortality in a variety of conditions, and misdiagnosis of the cause of dyspnea leads to poor patient-level outcomes. In combination with the history and physical, efficient, and focused use of laboratory studies, the various cardiopulmonary biomarkers can be useful in establishing the correct diagnosis and guiding treatment decisions in a timely manner. Use and interpretation of such tests must be guided by the clinical context, as well as an understanding of the current evidence supporting their use. This review discusses current standards and research regarding the use of established and emerging cardiopulmonary laboratory markers in the evaluation of acute dyspnea, focusing on recent evidence assessing the diagnostic and prognostic utility of various tests. These markers include brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) and N-terminal prohormone (NT-proBNP), mid-regional peptides proatrial NP and proadrenomedullin, cardiac troponins, D-dimer, soluble ST2, and galectin 3, and included is a discussion on the use of arterial and venous blood gases.


BNP; MR-proADM; MR-proANP; cardiopulmonary; emergency; galectin 3; heart failure; troponin

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