Increased circulating amino-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic (NT-proBNP) levels are a marker of cardiac dysfunction but also associate with coronary heart disease and stroke. We aimed to investigate whether increased circulating NT-proBNP levels have additive prognostic value for first cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events beyond classic risk factors. In a community-based cohort of 5063 participants free of cardiovascular disease, aged ≥55 years, circulating NT-proBNP levels and cardiovascular risk factors were measured. Participants were followed for the occurrence of first major fatal or nonfatal cardiovascular event. A total of 420 participants developed a first cardiovascular event (108 fatal). After adjustment for classic risk factors, the hazard ratio for cardiovascular events was 2.32 (95% CI: 1.55 to 2.70) in men and 3.08 (95% CI: 1.91 to 3.74) in women for participants with NT-proBNP in the upper compared with the lowest tertile. Corresponding hazard ratios for coronary heart disease, heart failure, and ischemic stroke were 2.01 (95% CI: 1.14 to 2.59), 2.90 (95% CI: 1.33 to 4.34), and 2.06 (95% CI: 0.91 to 3.18) for men and 2.95 (95% CI: 1.30 to 4.55), 5.93 (95% CI: 2.04 to 11.2), and 2.07 (95% CI: 1.00 to 2.97) for women. Incorporation of NT-proBNP in the classic risk model significantly improved the C-statistic both in men and women and resulted in a net reclassification improvement of 9.2% (95% CI: 3.5% to 14.9%; P=0.001) in men and 13.3% (95% CI: 5.9% to 20.8%; P<0.001) in women. We conclude that, in an asymptomatic older population, NT-proBNP improves risk prediction not only of heart failure but also of cardiovascular disease in general beyond classic risk factors, resulting in a substantial reclassification of participants to a lower or higher risk category.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Rutten, J., Mattace Raso, F., Steyerberg, E., Lindemans, J., Hofman, A., Wieberdink, R., … van den Meiracker, A. (2010). Amino-terminal Pro-B-type natriuretic peptide improves cardiovascular and cerebrovascular risk prediction in the population: The rotterdam study. Hypertension, 55(3), 785–791. doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.109.143313