Background: Most dyspneic patients in internal medicine departments have co-morbidities that interfere with the clinical diagnosis. The role of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels is well-established in the acute setting but not in hospitalized patients.
Objectives: To evaluate the additive value of BNP tests in patients with dyspnea admitted to medical wards who did not respond to initial treatment.
Methods: We searched the records of patients who were hospitalized in the department of internal medicine D at Sheba Medical Center during 2012 and were tested for BNP in the ward. Data collected included co-morbidity, medical treatments, diagnosis at presentation and discharge, lab results including BNP, re-hospitalization, and mortality at one year following hospitalization.
Results: BNP results were found for 169 patients. BNP was taken 1.7 ± 2.7 days after hospitalization. According to BNP levels, dividing the patients into tertiles revealed three equally distributed groups with a distinctive character. The higher tertile was associated with higher rates of cardiac co-morbidities, including heart failure, but not chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Higher BNP levels were related to one-year re-hospitalization and mortality. In addition, higher BNP levels were associated with higher rates of in-admission diagnosis change.
Conclusions: BNP levels during hospitalization in internal medicine wards are significantly related to cardiac illness, the existence of heart failure, and patient prognosis. Thus, BNP can be a useful tool in managing dyspneic patients in this setting.