The co-presence of atrial fibrillation (AF) in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) may cause some diagnostic difficulties, because AF itself is associated with elevated levels of N‑terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP). In the present study we aimed to investigate NT-proBNP levels of patients with HFpEF and AF.
This was a retrospective cohort study. Outpatient data were reviewed through the hospital data management system. Consecutive patients with the diagnosis of HFpEF and AF, who had at least one NT-proBNP measurement, were included in the study.
The study population comprised 235 patients. Median NT-proBNP levels were 1242 pg/ml in the stable phase and 2321.5 pg/ml during decompensation. NT-proBNP was correlated positively with age, CHA2DS2 and CHA2DS2VASc scores, left atrial diameter (LAD), tricuspid annulus diameter, and systolic pulmonary artery pressure but negatively correlated with left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) and hemoglobin level. The change in NT-proBNP was positively correlated with heart rate and LAD.
Patients with HFpEF and AF have higher levels of NT-proBNP, which may exceed the upper limits defined in guidelines. This study underlines the importance of measuring NT-proBNP levels in the stable phase and proposes a rule-in level for the decompensated phase.