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Incidence of Atrial Fibrillation in Persons with Very High Serum Levels of N-Terminal Pro-B-Type Natriuretic Peptide: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis

Authors Weiss NS, Perez Trejo E, Kronmal R, Lima J, Heckbert SR

Received 24 January 2021

Accepted for publication 26 March 2021

Published 7 April 2021 Volume 2021:13 Pages 265—272


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Professor Irene Petersen

Noel S Weiss,1 Esther Perez Trejo,2 Richard Kronmal,3 Joao Lima,4 Susan R Heckbert1

1Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; 2School of Public Health, University of Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada; 3Department of Biostatistics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; 4Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA

Correspondence: Noel S Weiss
Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, 18372 Ridgefield Road NW, Shoreline, WA, 98177, USA
Email [email protected]

Objective: While persons in the upper fourth or fifth of the distribution of serum levels of N-terminal pro-B type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) are at a sharply increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation, their absolute risk of this condition (about 20 per 1000 per year) is not clearly high enough to justify prevention or early detection measures. We sought to determine whether the incidence of atrial fibrillation among persons with VERY high levels of NT-proBNP might be sufficiently high to warrant further action.
Design and Setting: Among persons enrolled in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, we documented rates of new onset atrial fibrillation in those with increasingly high serum levels of NT-proBNP.
Results: There was a monotonic increase in the incidence of atrial fibrillation with increasing serum level of NT-proBNP, reaching rates of about 50– 70 cases per 1000 person-years among those in the upper 3.1% of the distribution (above 422 pg/mL). In this group the incidence tended to be somewhat higher still among persons who were at increased risk of atrial fibrillation for other reasons (eg older age), but in no subgroup did the incidence reach 100 per 1000 person-years.
Conclusion: Serum levels of NT-proBNP have a considerable ability to predict the development of atrial fibrillation. However, the value of screening middle aged and older adults for these levels hinges largely on the ability of interventions in screen-positive people to lead to a reduced incidence of atrial fibrillation and its complications.

Keywords: atrial fibrillation, NT-proBNP

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