Cincinnati--Alan Storrow, MD, associate professor and research
director at the University of Cincinnati (UC) Department of Emergency
Medicine, was the local principal investigator of a multi-national
study that demonstrated the effectiveness of using a rapid B-type
natriuretic peptide (BNP) test as a predictor of congestive heart
failure in millions of patients who arrive at emergency departments
suffering from shortness of breath. Study results were recently
presented at the American College of Cardiology annual scientific
session. Investigators, using a 15-minute BNP Test from Biosite
Incorporated, concluded that measurement of BNP levels in patients
should be considered the quickest predictor in the diagnosis of
congestive heart failure.
"In the study, BNP was also the single
most accurate predictor of congestive heart failure," Dr. Storrow said.
"These results demonstrate that rapid measurement of the BNP
concentration in blood will improve the ability of clinicians to
differentiate patients with congestive heart failure from other causes
of shortness of breath in acute care settings. The use of a 15-minute,
point-of-care test adds immediate and uniquely valuable diagnostic
information to the acute care physician. This should lead to better
initial therapies, which should lead to better outcomes."
face significant challenges in diagnosing congestive heart failure,
especially in emergency departments. "Shortness of breath is a symptom
that is common to a number of diseases. Critical time is spent trying
to distinguish between non-cardiac and cardiac causes of this symptom,"
commented Brian Gibler, MD, professor and director of the UC Department
of Emergency Medicine. "The availability of a rapid test that provides
objective and conclusive means of differentiating congestive heart
failure is an important diagnostic advancement that could prevent
misdiagnosis, expedite appropriate care, reduce inappropriate drug
delivery and improve overall efficiency in the emergency department
management of patients."
The BNP study was a seven-center,
prospective cohort study of 1,586 patients who came to emergency
departments with acute shortness of breath. BNP levels in the patients
were measured with the new test upon their arrival. For each patient
enrolled in the study, emergency physicians, who were blinded to the
results of BNP measurements, were asked to provide a diagnosis and a
probability of congestive heart failure using traditional clinical
diagnostic tools, such as physical examination, x-ray and patient