Reference limits for N-terminal-pro-B-type natriuretic peptide in healthy individuals (from the Framingham Heart Study)

Michael G. Fradley, Martin G. Larson, Susan Cheng, Elizabeth McCabe, Erin Coglianese, Ravi V. Shah, Daniel Levy, Ramachandran S. Vasan, Thomas J. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


N-terminal proB-type natriuretic peptide (NTpro-BNP) is a commonly measured cardiovascular biomarker in ambulatory and hospital settings. Nonetheless, there are limited data regarding "normal" ranges for NTpro-BNP in healthy subjects, despite the importance of such information for interpreting natriuretic peptide measurements. In this study, a healthy reference sample free of cardiovascular disease from the Framingham Heart Study Generation 3 cohort was examined; there were 2,285 subjects (mean age 38 years, 56% women). Plasma NTpro-BNP levels were measured using the Roche Diagnostics Elecsys 2010 assay, and reference values (2.5th, 50th, and 97.5th quantiles) were determined using empiric and quantile regression methods. Gender, age, blood pressure, and body mass index accounted for approximately 33% of the interindividual variability in NTpro-BNP in the reference sample. NTpro-BNP values were substantially higher in women compared to men at every age, and levels increased with increasing age for both genders. Using quantile regression, the upper reference values (97.5th quantile) for NTpro-BNP were 42.5 to 106.4 pg/ml in men (depending on age) and 111.0 to 215.9 pg/ml in women. Intraindividual variability was assessed in an additional 12 healthy subjects, who had serial NTpro-BNP measurements over 1 month. Intraclass correlation was 0.85, indicating that most of the variability in NTpro-BNP concentrations was among rather than within subjects. However, the reference change value was 100%, suggesting that small proportional differences in NTpro-BNP could be attributable to analytic variability. In conclusion, the reference limits obtained from this large, healthy, community-based sample may aid in the evaluation of NTpro-BNP concentrations measured for clinical and research purposes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1341-1345
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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