Performance of BNP and NT-proBNP for diagnosis of heart failure in primary care patients: a systematic review
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National and international guidelines have been published recommending the use of natriuretic peptides as an aid to the diagnosis of heart failure (HF) in acute settings; however, few specific recommendations exist for governing the use of these peptides in primary care populations. To summarize the available data relevant to the diagnosis of HF in primary care patient population, we systematically reviewed the literature to identify original articles that investigated the diagnostic accuracy of B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) and N-terminal proBNP (NT-proBNP) in primary care settings. The search yielded 25,864 articles in total: 12 investigating BNP and 20 investigating NT-proBNP were relevant to our objective and included in the review. QUADAS-2 and GRADE were used to assess the quality of the included articles. Diagnostic data were pooled based on three cutpoints: lowest and optimal, as chosen by study authors, and manufacturers' suggested. The effect of various determinants (e.g., age, gender, BMI, and renal function) on diagnostic performance was also investigated. Pooled sensitivity and specificity of BNP and NT-proBNP using the lowest [0.85 (sensitivity) and 0.54 (specificity)], optimal (0.80 and 0.61), and manufacturers' (0.74 and 0.67) cutpoints showed good performance for diagnosing HF. Similar performance was seen for NT-proBNP: lowest (0.90 and 0.50), optimal (0.86 and 0.58), and manufacturers' (0.82 and 0.58) cutpoints. Overall, we rated the strength of evidence as high because further studies will be unlikely to change the estimates diagnostic performance.
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