Document Type


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Journal/Book/Conference Title

ESC Heart Failure





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Originally published at

Funded in part by the VCU Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund.

Date of Submission

August 2019


Background Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is a heterogeneous syndrome that presents clinicians with a diagnostic challenge. The use of natriuretic peptides to exclude a diagnosis of HFpEF has been proposed. We sought to compare HFpEF patients with N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) level above and below the proposed cut-off.

Methods Stable patients (n = 30) with left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction ≥ 50% were eligible if they had a diagnosis of HF according to the European Society of Cardiology diagnostic criteria. Characteristics of patients with NT-proBNP below (≤125 pg/mL) and above (>125 pg/mL) the diagnostic criterion were compared.

Results There were 19 (66%) women with median age 54 years. Half were African American (16, 53%), and most were obese. There were no significant differences in clinical characteristics or medication use between groups. LV end-diastolic volume index was greater in high NT-proBNP patients (P = 0.03). Left atrial volume index, E/e' ratio, and E/e' ratio at peak exercise were not significantly different between NT-proBNP groups. Peak oxygen consumption (VO2), VO2 at ventilatory threshold, and ventilatory efficiency measures were impaired in all patients and were not significantly different between high and low NT-proBNP patients.

Conclusions NT-proBNP was below the proposed diagnostic cut-off point of 125 pg/mL in half of this obese study cohort. Cardiac diastolic dysfunction and cardiorespiratory fitness were not significantly different between high and low NT-proBNP patients. These data indicate that excluding the diagnosis of HFpEF based solely on NT-proBNP levels should be discouraged.


© 2018 The Authors. ESC Heart Failure published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. ESC HEART FAILURE ESC Heart Failure 2018; 5: 372–378 Published online 18 January 2018 in Wiley Online Library ( DOI: 10.1002/ehf2.12235 This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.

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VCU Internal Medicine Publications