This review article addresses the question of whether biomarker-guided therapy is ready for clinical implementation in chronic heart failure. The most well-known biomarkers in heart failure are natriuretic peptides, namely B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) and NT-proBNP. They are well-established in the diagnostic process of acute heart failure and prediction of disease prognosis. They may also be helpful in screening patients at risk of developing heart failure. Although studied by 11 small- to medium-scale trials resulting in several positive meta-analyses, it is less well-established whether natriuretic peptides are also helpful for guiding chronic heart failure therapy. This uncertainty is expressed by differences in European and American guideline recommendations. In addition to reviewing the evidence surrounding the use of natriuretic peptides to guide chronic heart failure therapy, this article gives an overview of the shortcomings of the trials, how the results may be interpreted and the future directions necessary to fill the current gaps in knowledge. Therapy guidance in chronic heart failure using other biomarkers has not been prospectively tested to date. Emerging biomarkers, such as galectin-3 and soluble ST2, might be useful in this regard, as suggested by several post-hoc analyses.
Hans-Peter Brunner-La Rocca - Department of Cardiology, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, The Netherlands
Sema Bektas - Department of Cardiology, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, The Netherlands