(HealthDay News) – Screening people at risk for heart failure for certain levels of brain-type natriuretic peptide (BNP), a peptide secreted by the ventricles of the heart, followed by collaborative care reduces the risk of left ventricle dysfunction and heart failure, according to a study published in the July 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Mark Ledwidge, PhD, from St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group in Dublin, and colleagues randomly assigned 1,374 participants with cardiovascular risk factors to receive usual primary care or screening with BNP testing.

The researchers found that 41.6% of the screening group (263 patients) had BNP levels of ≥50pg/mL and underwent echocardiography and collaborative care. Left ventricle dysfunction with or without heart failure occurred in significantly fewer patients in the screening group (5.3% vs. 8.7%; odds ratio, 0.55). Heart failure was less likely in the screening group, though non-significantly (1% vs. 2.1%; odds ratio, 0.48; P =0.12). The incidence rate of emergency hospitalization for major cardiovascular events was significantly lower in the screening group (22.3 vs. 40.4 per 1,000 patient-years; incidence rate ratio, 0.6).

“Among patients at risk of heart failure, BNP-based screening and collaborative care reduced the combined rates of left ventricle systolic dysfunction, diastolic dysfunction, and heart failure,” Ledwidge and colleagues conclude.

The study was funded by the Heartbeat Trust, an independent charity which has received unrestricted educational and research grants from multiple drug companies.

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