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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Minerva Medica 2007 October;98(5):591-602

language: Italian

The role of natriuretic peptides in heart failure

Ancona R., Limongelli G., Pacileo G., Miele T., Rea A., Roselli T., Masarone D., Messina S., Palmieri R., Golia E., Iacomino M., Gala S., Calabrò P., Di Salvo G., Calabrò R.

Unità di Cardiologia, Ospedale Monaldi Seconda Università di Napoli, Napoli


Over the last decades, there has been a significant increase in incidence and prevalence of heart failure, a major cause of cardiac morbidity and mortality. Measurements of neurohormones, in particular B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP), can significantly improve diagnostic accuracy, and also correlate with long-term morbidity and mortality in patients with chronic heart failure presenting to the emergency department. BNP is secreted by cardiac ventricles mainly in response to wall stress and neurohormonal factors like the sympathetic nervous system, endothelins, and the rennin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. BNP increases myocardial relaxation and oppose the vasoconstrictive, sodium retaining, and natriuretic effects caused by vasoconstrictive factors. BNP is the first biomarker to prove its clinical value for the diagnosis of left ventricular systolic and diastolic dysfunction but also for the right ventricular dysfunction, guiding prognosis and therapy management. Emerging clinical data will help further refine biomarker-guided therapeutic and monitoring strategies involving BNP.

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