Heart Disease Could Be Predicted by Certain Biomarkers
Predicting a person’s risk of heart disease may be easier when measuring certain biomarkers, a new study shows. According to MedPage Today, researchers at Emory University in Atlanta found that measuring echocardiographic variables and levels of N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) in older adults was more likely to yield an accurate picture of heart disease risk than were clinical risk scores alone.
Elevated NT-proBNP levels and changes in cardiac structure have been associated with the development of heart disease before, but it was previously not known whether integrating them into the risk assessment process would have any benefit.
To test this theory, study leader Javed Butler and his colleagues looked at data from nearly 4,000 Medicare-eligible adults with a median age of 72. All were free from heart failure at the beginning of the study, and a majority of the study participants were white and female.
In addition to receiving the standard clinical heart failure risk assessment—known as Health ABC—participants were also tested for NT-proBNP levels and the status of their heart’s infrastructure. Researchers found that elevated levels of NT-proBNP were independently associated with heart failure risk, and that adding echocardiographic biomarkers to risk assessment improved classification of at-risk patients.