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Cardiac Biomarkers in Feline Heart Disease

Singh MK, Cocchiaro MF, Kittleson MD: NT-proBNP measurement fails to reliably identify subclinical hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in Maine Coon cats, J Feline Med Surg 12:942, 2010.

Natriuretic peptide concentrations have become sensitive, specific and reliable in recognizing and managing heart disease and failure in human patients. The development of a feline commercial assay for a natriuretic peptide called NT-proBNP has elevated interest in its use as a biomarker for feline cardiac disease. Feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) can be found in the Maine Coons as well as other cats. Disease can range from mild to severe and affected cats can show no clinical signs, making detection by physical examination very difficult. This study measured plasma NT-proBNP concentrations in 35 Maine Coon cats that had a previous classification of normal, equivocal, moderate or severe HCM via echocardiography. It was found that cats with severe HCM had a significantly higher NT-proBNP concentration compared with the other groups. However, 56% of cats with severe disease in this study would have been considered normal based on a NT-proBNP concentration; the sensitivity for diagnosing severe disease was only 44% (at a cutoff of ≤100 pmol/l). For any other condition less than severe HCM, the measurement of NT-proBNP concentration was found to be insensitive. Cats with equivocal and moderate disease were not identified by this assay. This study indicates that NT-proBNP measurement is not an accurate screening tool for the diagnosis of HCM in this population of Maine Coon cats. [VT]

Related articles:
Connolly DJ: Natriuretic peptides: the feline experience, Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 40:559, 2010.