Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size

Blood Test Predicts Heart Attack Risk

A simple blood test may help doctors identify heart patients who are at high risk for having heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure.

Value Unknown

While there is some suggestion that the test could prove useful for identifying heart risk in the general public, its most immediate use is for patients with established heart disease.

But even among these patients, its role in disease management is not yet clear, cardiologist Robert Bonow, MD, tells WebMD.

Bonow is chief of cardiology at Northwestern University Medical School and a former president of the American Heart Association.

"We aren't sure at this point what to do with this information once we have it," he says. "We can treat these patients [with elevated NT-proBNP] very aggressively, but we should be doing that anyway."

Bonow adds that while NT-proBNP may prove to be a useful test for asymptomatic patients with heart disease, "we don't really know this yet."

In an editorial accompanying the study, Marvin Konstam, MD, of Tufts University School of Medicine agreed that it remains to be seen if NT-proBNP will prove useful for the management of patients with heart disease.

Konstam tells WebMD that more study is needed to determine the value of such testing.

"The real home run will be when we identify a marker and an intervention to go along with it to lower risk," he says. "The best example of this is LDL, or bad, cholesterol. We not only know that LDL cholesterol is a predictor of heart risk, but we know that we can lower that risk with drugs."

1|2

Today on WebMD

cholesterol lab test report
Article
Compressed heart
Article
 
heart rate graph
Article
Compressed heart
Article
 
empty football helmet
Article
Heart Valve
Video
 
eating blueberries
Article
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Slideshow
 
Inside A Heart Attack
SLIDESHOW
Omega 3 Sources
SLIDESHOW
 
Salt Shockers
SLIDESHOW
lowering blood pressure
SLIDESHOW