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Marker Shows Potential in Finding Heart Disease in Youth

Last Updated: September 29, 2009.

B-type natriuretic peptide appears to be an accurate marker of cardiovascular disease in children, one which may be of diagnostic value, according to research published in the Oct. 6 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

TUESDAY, Sept. 29 (HealthDay News) -- B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) appears to be an accurate marker of cardiovascular disease in children, one which may be of diagnostic value, according to research published in the Oct. 6 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Yuk M. Law, M.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues analyzed data from 100 children and teens, from newborn to 19 years, who were referred for an urgent cardiology consult due to signs or symptoms of potential cardiovascular abnormality. For the study, subjects were divided into two age groups (0 to 7 days old and all older children).

In the younger group, the researchers found that the median BNP was 526 pg/mL in those with disease versus 96 pg/mL in those without. In older children, these median values were 122 and 22 pg/mL, respectively. Among the younger children, those with a BNP of 170 pg/mL or greater had a 91-percent chance of significant cardiovascular disease; and in the older children, those with a BNP of at least 41 pg/mL had a 77-percent chance of significant cardiovascular disease. These cutoffs represent the optimal accuracy.

"It is critical to diagnose neonatal and pediatric patients as quickly as possible; because of lack of a clear history, the gravity of the situation is not always measured properly. In this regard, BNP may have a great future in children as a possible tool in adding details to the whole story," write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

Biosite Inc. provided materials for the study. An editorial author reported financial relationships with a number of diagnostic companies.

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