BNP Level Up in Many Pregnant Women With Heart Disease

Measuring levels during pregnancy may help identify those at risk of adverse cardiac events
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Sept. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Measuring B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels of women during pregnancy may be useful in identifying those at risk for adverse cardiac events, according to research published in the Oct. 5 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

David Tanous, Ph.D., of Mount Sinai and Toronto General Hospitals, and colleagues obtained serial clinical data and plasma BNP measurements from 78 women (66 women with heart disease and 12 healthy women) during the first trimester, third trimester, and more than six weeks after delivery.

The researchers found that the median peak BNP level was higher in women with heart disease than in healthy women during pregnancy (median 79 versus 35 pg/mL). In women with heart disease, those who had subaortic ventricular dysfunction had increased BNP levels. Among all eight women who experienced events during pregnancy, the researchers measured a BNP >100 pg/mL. There were 16 women who experienced increased BNP levels during pregnancy but did not have clinical events. None of the women with BNP ≤100 pg/mL experienced events.

"Normal levels of BNP during pregnancy in women with heart disease were an important finding, predicting a low risk for adverse maternal cardiac events," the authors write. "There is a subset of women with elevated BNP levels in the range typically found in patients with clinical heart failure who did not show clinical decompensation during pregnancy; the significance of this finding is presently unknown."

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