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Usefulness of N-terminal Pro–Brain Natriuretic Peptide as a Biomarker of the Presence of Carcinoid Heart Disease

      We sought to investigate whether N-terminal pro–brain natriuretic peptide (NT–pro-BNP) can be used as a biomarker for the detection of carcinoid heart disease (CHD); 200 patients with carcinoid syndrome were screened for CHD using transthoracic echocardiography. A carcinoid score was formulated to quantify severity of CHD. NT–pro-BNP was measured in all patients before echocardiography. Patients were categorised into New York Heart Association class. CHD was present in 39 patients (19.5%). NT–pro-BNP was significantly higher in those with CHD (median 1,149 pg/ml) than in those without CHD (median 101 pg/ml, p <0.001). The sensitivity and specificity of NT–pro-BNP at a cut-off level of 260 pg/ml for detection of CHD were 0.92 and 0.91, respectively. NT–pro-BNP positively correlated both with carcinoid score (r = 0.81, p <0.001) and New York Heart Association class (p <0.001). The number of patients screened to diagnose 1 case of CHD decreased from 5.1 to 1.4. In conclusion, NT–pro-BNP seems to be an excellent biomarker of CHD. A high negative predictive value may allow it to provide a screening test for CHD.
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