Elevated admission N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide level predicts the development of atrial fibrillation in general surgical intensive care unit patients
New onset atrial fibrillation (AF) in critically ill surgical patients is associated with significant morbidity and increased mortality. N-terminal pro-B type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) is released by cardiomyocytes in response to stress and may predict AF development after surgery. We hypothesized that elevated NT-proBNP level at surgical intensive care unit (ICU) admission predicts AF development in a general surgical and trauma population.METHODS
From July to October 2015, NT-proBNP concentrations were measured at ICU admission. Abnormal NT-proBNP concentrations were defined by age-adjusted cut-offs. We examined the relationship between the development of AF and demographics, clinical variables, and NT-proBNP level using univariate analysis and a multivariable logistic regression model.RESULTS
Three hundred eighty-seven subjects were included in the cohort, none of whom were in AF at ICU admission. The median age was 63 years (52–73 years), and 40.3% were women. The risk of developing AF was higher for abnormal versus normal NT-proBNP (22% vs. 4%; p < 0.0001). Using optimal derived cutoffs (regardless of age), the risk of developing AF was 2% for NT-proBNP less than 600 ng/L, 15% for NT-proBNP of 600 ng/L to 1,999 ng/L, and 27% for NT-proBNP of 2,000 ng/L or greater. Multiple logistic regression analysis identified three independent predictors for new-onset AF: age, older than 70 years (odds ratio [OR], 3.7, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.5–9.3), history of AF (OR, 25.3; 95% CI, 9.6–67.0), and NT-proBNP of 600 or greater (OR, 4.3; 95% CI, 1.3–14.2). When none or only one predictor was present, AF incidence was less than 1%. When all three predictors were present, AF incidence was 66%. For subjects 70 years or older but no history of AF, AF incidence was 12.8% when NT-proBNP was 600 or greater compared with 0% when NT-proBNP was less than 600. For subjects younger than 70 years with a history of AF, AF incidence was 44.4% when NT-proBNP was 600 or higher compared to 0% when NT-proBNP was less than 600.CONCLUSION
Elevated NT-proBNP at ICU admission in general surgical and trauma patients is predictive of AF development in the first 3 ICU days. Addition of NT-proBNP measurement to known risk factors can improve predictive power and identify patients who might potentially benefit from evidence-based prophylactic treatment for AF.