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Utility of measuring plasma N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide in detecting hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and differentiating grades of severity in cats

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Cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) often have no clinical signs or subtle signs. Measurement of N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) has been demonstrated in people to be highly specific for heart disease and also correlates with severity of HCM. NT-proBNP may also be valuable in detecting and grading HCM in cats, but results to date have been equivocal. Objectives:

The aims of this study were to evaluate NT-proBNP as a screening test for diagnosis of HCM in cats and determine an appropriate cut-off value and to determine if NT-proBNP concentrations correlated with severity of HCM in cats. Methods:

Plasma NT-proBNP concentrations were measured in 201 cats using an ELISA designed for use in cats. Cats were classified using echocardiography as clinically healthy controls (n=99) or cats with equivocal (n=9), mild (n=15), moderate (n=17), or severe (n=61) HCM. Results:

NT-proBNP concentrations (median; 25th–75th interquartile percentiles) in mildly (216.1; 87.6–392.5 pmol/L), moderately (282.7; 131.9–466.6 pmol/L), and severely (839.5; 655.3–1046.4 pmol/L) affected cats were significantly higher than those in healthy controls (18.9; 3.4–62.4 pmol/L). Concentrations in severely affected cats were significantly higher than in cats from other HCM groups. There was no significant difference between mild and moderate HCM. Cut-off values >49 pmol/L had a sensitivity of 97.8% and specificity of 66.7%; >100 pmol/L had a sensitivity of 92.4% and specificity of 93.9%; and >150 pmol/L had a sensitivity of 88% and a specificity of 100%. Conclusions:

NT-proBNP with a cut-off value of >100 pmol/L was useful in detecting even mild HCM. Cats with increased NT-proBNP concentrations should be examined by echocardiography.

Keywords: Biomarker; HCM; Maine Coon cats; feline; heart disease; screening test

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Clinic of Small Animal Medicine 2: Statistical Consulting Unit, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany

Publication date: June 1, 2011


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