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Left ventricular dysfunction, natriuretic peptides, and mortality in an urban population


OBJECTIVE To report the mortality of left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVD), assessed objectively by echocardiography, and its association with natriuretic peptide hormones in a random sample of 1640 men and women aged 25–74 years from a geographical, urban population.

METHODS Left ventricular function was measured by echocardiography in 1640 attendees studied in 1992–3. LVD was defined as a left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) ⩽ 30%. Plasma concentrations of N-terminal atrial natriuretic peptide (N-ANP) and brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) were measured by standard radioimmunoassays. Mortality was documented at four years.

RESULTS The four year all cause mortality rate in the whole cohort was 4.9% (80 deaths). It was 21% (nine deaths) in those with an LVEF ⩽ 30% and 4% in those whose LVEF was > 30% (p < 0.001). The median (interquartile range) BNP concentration in those who died was 16.9 pg/ml (8.8–27) and 7.8 pg/ml (3.4–13) in survivors (p < 0.0001). Similarly, N-ANP had a median concentration of 2.35 ng/ml (1.32–3.36) in those with a fatal outcome and 1.27 ng/ml (0.9–2.0) in those alive at four years (p < 0.0001). Subjects with an LVEF ⩽ 40% also had a significant mortality rate of 17% if they also had a BNP concentration ⩾ 17.9 pg/ml compared with 6.8% if their BNP was below this concentration (p = 0.013). Multivariate analysis revealed the independent predictors of four year all cause mortality to be increasing age (p < 0.001), a BNP concentration ⩾ 17.9 pg/ml (p = 0.006), the presence of ischaemic heart disease (p = 0.03), and male sex (p = 0.04).

CONCLUSIONS LVD is associated with a considerable mortality rate in this population. BNP also independently predicts outcome. In addition to its role as a diagnostic aid in chronic heart failure and LVD, it provides prognostic information and clarifies the meaning of a given degree of LVD.

  • epidemiology
  • left ventricular dysfunction
  • natriuretic peptides

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