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Biochemical Markers for Feline Heart Disease

Connolly, D. J., R. J. Soares Magalhaes, et al. (2008). “Circulating natriuretic peptides in cats with heart disease.” J Vet Intern Med 22(1): 96-105.with heart disease.” J Vet Intern Med 22(1): 96-105.


Natriuretic peptides are hormones produced by cardiac muscle cells, and include atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and brain natriuretic peptide (BNP). These hormones are released in response to stretching of the atria (ANP) and ventricles (BNP), and are responsible for regulation of body fluids and blood pressure. The forms of these hormones measured in circulation are NT-proANP and NT-proBNP. In human medicine, these biochemical markers are used as patient-side tests for the diagnosis and prognosis of cardiac disease. In people with HCM, NT-proBNP is increased and correlates with severity of disease. Increased concentrations of BNP have been reported in cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and congestive heart failure (CHF). In this study, serum NT-proANP and NT-proBNP levels were measured in 28 healthy control cats and 50 cats with heart disease. Of the 50 cats with heart disease, 33 were in CHF while the remaining 17 were not. The study found that both markers were able to distinguish cats with heart disease from normal cats, but NT-proBNP was able to distinguish cats without CHF from normal cats. With further investigation, it may be possible to use NT-proBNP as a screening test for heart disease in cats. Any cats with positive test results should be evaluated with a more specific test, such as echocardiography, for false positives are possible.
Related articles:
MacLean, H. N., J. A. Abbott, et al. (2006). “N-terminal atrial natriuretic peptide immunoreactivity in plasma of cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.” J Vet Intern Med 20(2): 284-9.

Winn Funded Research

Biondo, A. W., E. J. Ehrhart, et al. (2003). “Immunohistochemistry of atrial and brain natriuretic peptides in control cats and cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.” Vet Pathol 40(5): 501-6.