Brain natriuretic peptide and NT-proBNP levels reflect pulmonary artery systolic pressure in trekkers at high altitude.

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Woods, DR ; Mellor, A ; Begley, J ; Stacey, M ; O'Hara, J ; Hawkins, A ; Yarker, J ; Foxen, S ; Smith, C ; Boos, C (2013)

Our objective was to evaluate the utility of the natriuretic peptides BNP (brain natriuretic peptide) and NT-proBNP as markers of pulmonary artery systolic pressure (PASP) in trekkers ascending to high altitude (HA). 20 participants had BNP and NT-proBNP assayed and simultaneous echocardiographic assessment of PASP performed during a trek to 5150 m. PASP increased significantly (p=0.006) with ascent from 24+/-4 to 39+/-11 mm Hg at 5150 m. At 5150 m those with a PASP>/=40 mm Hg (n=8) (versus those with PASP<40 mm Hg) had higher post-exercise BNP (pg/ml): 54.5+/-36 vs. 13.4+/-17 (p=0.012). Their resting BNP at 5150 m was also higher: 57.3+/-43.4 vs. 12.6+/-13 (p=0.017). In those with a pathological (>/=400 pg/ml) rise in NT-proBNP at 5150 m (n=4) PASP was significantly higher: 45.9+/-7.5 vs. 32.2+/-6.2 mm Hg (p=0.015). BNP and NT-proBNP may reflect elevated PASP, a central feature of high altitude pulmonary oedema, at HA.
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