I’m ready to use natriuretic peptide testing in my patients with dyspnea to diagnose heart failure. Now what?

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Published on : March 31, 2022

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How to incorporate BNP testing into primary care.

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Milan Gupta, MD, FRCPC, FCCS, CPC(HC)
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto
Medical Director, Canadian Collaborative Research Network
Brampton, ON  

Nadia Giannetti, MD, FRCPC
Chief of Cardiology
Medical Director, Heart Failure and Heart Transplant Program
McGill University Health Center, Montreal
Montreal, QC

Heart failure is one of the fastest growing CV conditions in Canada. Over 750,000 Canadians have it, another 100,000 develop heart failure each year, and almost 50% die within five years of diagnosis. The majority of these patients are ambulatory, meaning that the initial suspicion and diagnosis of heart failure rests with their family physician. But the diagnosis of heart failure can be difficult through history and examination alone, especially in elderly patients with non-specific dyspnea and other comorbidities. That's where the natriuretic peptides (NPs) come in.

Certain biomarkers can revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of common CV conditions. Think of LDL-cholesterol for predicting and reducing risk of atherosclerotic CVD, or troponin levels for diagnosis and management of acute coronary syndromes. Similarly, NPs have revolutionized the diagnosis and prognosis of heart failure. And with wider availability of NP testing and provincial coverage, now is a good time for primary care physicians to become familiarized with when and how to use NPs for the diagnosis of heart failure.

What are natriuretic peptides?

copyright © 2024 MDLearn
Any views expressed above are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of MDLearn.

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