BNP was originally identified as a marker for acute heart failure and is a useful test in the ER for that condition. BNP is also quite useful as a prognostic test in patients with known heart failure. So the level of BNP in the blood correlates with how well a heart failure patient will do in the future.
But what I am interested in is that BNP is a useful predictor of overall mortality (that is, death). Let’s look at 3 levels of BNP and how it relates to death (data is from reference 1).
Indeed, this association of BNP with heart muscle contraction has been directly linked to the electrical activity of the heart, the standard measurement of which is called the EKG. The figure below illustrates the portions of the EKG. The part of the EKG that directly correlates with the BNP is the QT interval.
This concludes the series on death markers and I will soon move on to other exciting topics in “precision” medicine.
1. Wang, TJ et al. Plasma natriuretic peptide levels and the risk of cardiovascular events and death. NEJM 350: 655-663, 2004.
2. Nilsson G et al. How to live until 90 – factors predicting survival in 75-year olds from the general population. Healthy Aging Research 3: 5, 2014
3. Nilsson G et al. QTc interval and survival in 75-year-old men and women from the general population. Europace 8: 233-240, 2006.
© 2016 by Ralph Giorno MD