To evaluate assessment of circulating amino terminal-pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) concentration as a means to discriminate between congestive heart failure and primary pulmonary disease in dogs.
Prospective case series.
46 dogs with signs of respiratory distress or coughing.
All dogs underwent physical and thoracic radiographic examinations. Dogs with evidence of heart disease (eg, murmur, arrhythmia, or large cardiac silhouette detected by radiography) also underwent echocardiography. Dogs with no evidence of heart disease or failure were included if they underwent bronchoalveolar lavage (with cytologic examination and bacterial culture of the lavage fluid). Blood samples for NT-proBNP assay were obtained within 12 hours of the diagnosis of heart failure or prior to bronchoalveolar lavage in dogs with primary pulmonary disease. Circulating concentrations of NT-proBNP were compared between groups and correlated with radiographic and echocardiographic measures of cardiac size.
Congestive heart failure and primary pulmonary disease were diagnosed in 25 and 21 dogs, respectively. Dogs with congestive heart failure had significantly higher median serum or plasma NT-proBNP concentration (2,554 pmol/L; interquartile [25% to 75%] range, 1,651.5 to 3,475.5 pmol/L) than dogs with primary pulmonary disease (357 pmol/L; interquartile range, 192.5 to 565.5 pmol/L). Radiographic vertebral heart score and echocardiographic left atrial-to-aortic diameter ratio were not correlated with NT-proBNP concentration. Left ventricular end-diastolic diameter (measured echocardiographically) and NT-proBNP concentration were weakly correlated.
Serum or plasma NT-proBNP concentration assessment may be useful for discrimination of congestive heart failure from primary pulmonary disease in dogs with respiratory distress or cough.