Assessment of N-terminal prohormone B-type natriuretic peptide as a measure of vascular and ventricular function in pediatric pulmonary arterial hypertension

PVRI Member Authors: Dunbar Ivy


Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive disease that puts excessive mechanical loads on the ventricle due to a gradual increase in pulmonary vascular impedance. We hypothesize that the increase in right ventricular (RV) afterload is reflected in the concentration of circulating biochemical markers of ventricular strain and stress (B-type natriuretic peptide [BNP] and N-terminal prohormone BNP [NT-proBNP]). We retrospectively analyzed right heart catheterization (RHC) and serum biochemical analysis data (n = 56) for a pediatric PAH cohort with no sign of left ventricular dysfunction. Using RHC data, we computed an estimate of pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR), compliance, and ventricular-vascular coupling. We also compared how the early onset of interventricular decoupling (characterized as septal flattening) impacts serum NT-proBNP concentrations. Our data revealed correlated NT-proBNP expression with both the resistive and reactive components of RV afterload, an estimate of ventricular-vascular coupling, and a significant increase in biomarker expression in patients with a flattened interventricular septum. Furthermore, the strong correlation between PVR and NT-proBNP appears to break down under flat septum morphology. Over 80% of resistive RV afterload variance is reflected in serum NT-proBNP concentration in pediatric patients with PAH with no sign of left ventricular dysfunction. Reactive afterload appears to contribute to myocardial NT-proBNP release at advanced stages of PAH. Therefore, in mild-to-moderate PAH, resistive afterload is likely the greatest contributor to RV wall stress. These findings could also be used to estimate invasive RHC measurements from serum biochemical analysis, but more work is needed to improve correlations and overcome the issue of interventricular decoupling.

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Pulmonary Hypertension


Vitaly O. Kheyfets, Jamie Dunning, Uyen Truong, D. Dunbar Ivy, Kendall A. Hunter, Robin Shandas

Published in:

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 5: No 4 cover image

December 2015

Pulmonary Circulation Vol 5: No 4

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