Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Original article
N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide as a predictor of incident atrial fibrillation in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis: the effects of age, sex and ethnicity


Objective Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common source of medical costs, morbidity and mortality. NT pro-brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) is a remarkably strong predictor of AF in older whites; we aimed to assess if this biomarker was as predictive in other racial groups.

Design We used covariate-adjusted Cox model regressions to estimate the HRs of developing AF as a function of NT proBNP, and tested for interactions of NT proBNP with age, gender and race/ethnicity.

Setting The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).

Patients 5518 subjects were followed over a median of 7.6 years. During this time, 267 developed AF.

Results NT proBNP was statistically significantly associated with incident AF; for ln NT proBNP, the adjusted HR was 2.2 (95% CI 1.9 to 2.5). Assessed by quintiles, the relationship between NT proBNP was strong and graded; the unadjusted HR for the highest quintile of NT proBNP was 23.7 (95% CI 11.1 to 50.6) and adjusted was 11.4 (95% CI 5.1 to 25.3). NT proBNP was an excellent predictor of incident AF in the younger and older age groups, in men and women and in the different race/ethnicity groups: the HR for ln NT proBNP as a predictor of incident AF ranged from 2.0 to 3.9 in each subgroup.

Conclusions NT proBNP is a robust predictor of incident AF; its prognostic value is more significant in younger patients and women compared with older patients and men. NT proBNP was also as strongly predictive in black patients, Hispanics and Asian/Chinese as in white patients despite a lower incidence of arrhythmia.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.