In a recent study, researchers have found that certain hormones in the body may yield a new method of predicting the risk of cardiovascular events and death in people with no symptoms. Researchers found excess risk was apparent at levels well below the current standards used to diagnose heart failure.
Investigators studied 3,346 people without heart failure. They tested the participants' blood looking for specific substances and compared the findings to each person's risk of death from a first major cardiovascular event, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, stroke, coronary heart disease, or other causes. Specifically, they looked at the levels of natriuretic peptides, a group of hormones that regulate blood volume, arterial pressure, and cardiac and vascular function.
At the five-year follow-up, 119 participants had died and 79 had a first cardiovascular event. The study shows each incremental increase of the peptide level was associated with a 27-percent increased death risk, a 28-percent increase in the risk of a first cardiovascular event, a 77-percent increase in heart failure risk, a 66-percent increase in the risk of atrial fibrillation, and a 53-percent increase in the risk of stroke or transient ischemic attack. Peptide levels were not significantly associated with the risk of coronary heart disease events. Researchers found similar results for a related peptide.
Researchers conclude that B-type natriuretic peptide measurements may provide a very early warning signal for future cardiovascular disease in people without symptoms. However they say that, this exam should be coupled with others for the most effective early detection.