Concentrations of N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide and troponin T in plasma of 75-year-old apparently healthy persons

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Clinical chemical reference values for older persons are sparse and mostly intermixed with those for younger persons. We had a unique opportunity to obtain blood samples from volunteers who were 75 years old and living in two districts of Vienna, Austria. Consequently, we utilized stored plasma samples to obtain reference intervals for 120 apparently healthy 75–year-old participants for pro-brain natriuretic peptide (proBNP), as well as for troponin T. The N-terminal (NT)-proBNP protein assay is currently used as a diagnostic and prognostic aid in patients with heart failure and as a prognostic marker in acute coronary syndromes. Specifically, the concentration of NT-proBNP in serum or plasma aids in the prognosis of ventricular systolic dysfunction and helps to differentiate between cardiac and non-cardiac causes. The median NT-proBNP plasma value for men and women in our cohort was calculated as 98 pg/ml, comparing favorably with reported values, in that a NT-proBNP concentration less than 100 pg/ml excludes acutely decompensated heart failure. Our calculated 97.5 percentile was slightly higher (359 pg/ml) than the 97.5 percentile in a group of 50–65–year-old persons (198 and 222 pg/ml for men and women, respectively) revealing the influence of age on this parameter. Because of its high tissue-specificity, cardiac troponin T is a cardiospecific, highly sensitive marker for myocardial damage. However, the troponin T concentrations in the plasma specimens from this cohort were all below the detection limit of 0.01 ng/ml, preventing any further data handling.

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