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Simple Blood Test to Identify Left Ventricular Dysfunction?


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Burton Borrok Find out more about Burton Borrok
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  • Simple Blood Test to Identify Left Ventricular Dysfunction?

    Hi folks,
    I’m becoming more impressed with my new cardiologist. He sent me for a simple blood test to check my B-Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) before going to other testing, like a stress test and/or an ECHO. It appears that this simple, inexpensive blood test may be an excellent indicator of SD risk, among other things.

    Please check out - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q...&dopt=Abstract


    I also invite you to check out other sites on the internet, and please report any additional information you find.

    This test appears to be able to find left ventricular systolic or diastolic dysfunction with an accuracy in excess of ninety percent. Could this be the simple, cheap way of identifying ‘at risk’ school athletes before they are exposed to vagarious exercise? Also, why can’t it be used with HCM patients for a quick check of their current status - as it was done with me?

  • #2
    Re: Simple Blood Test to Identify Left Ventricular Dysfuncti

    My dear Burt

    That test has been there, i had one i guess it's been a year now, and it showed i had heart failureso that is when i started taking spironolactone and it was increased when he had another one done on me and it was 700 something so my meds were doubled, i guess heart failure is heart failure which ever way you look at it, so are you getting ready for the big weekend enjoy

    Diagnosed 2003
    Myectomy 2-23-2004
    Husband: Ken
    Son: John diagnosed 2004
    Daughter: Janet (free of HCM)

    Grandchildren: Drew 15,Aaron 13,Karen 9,Connor 9


    • #3
      Re: Simple Blood Test to Identify Left Ventricular Dysfuncti

      Shirley sweetie,
      You bet I’m looking forward to this week-end. Have been for seventy-two years. One of my doctors said I should see twenty-twenty – but then, he was my optometrist. Then again, I’d only be eighty-eight. In today’s world that’s quite do-able.

      My son is bringing out my new computer and will help me set it up and transfer all my data. We’ll then clear the old one and set it up for my friend who I’ll be giving it to. I know him from ‘Talking Books’ where I work on Tuesdays. He’s blind but has a program that reads the screen to him.

      About the BNP test - I was thinking of the possibility of using it as a cheap screening method of checking our school athletes. The school boards just don’t want to foot the bill for getting ECHO’s on all the sports minded children, and this test might save some lives.

      Hope you’re feeling OK. Give my regards to Ken.


      • #4
        Re: Simple Blood Test to Identify Left Ventricular Dysfuncti

        Hi Burton,

        Excerpt from article:

        B-Natriuretic peptide levels accurately reflect ventricular pressure, and preliminary studies with a rapid assay have found that levels are sensitive and specific for diagnosing heart failure in patients with dyspnea.

        My cardio has been ordering the BNP on my bloodwork for some time and unfortunately, it has not proven to be very reliable in my case. Most of my BNP tests have shown normal levels, despite the fact that I had an outflow gradient of 144+ mmHg, and was obviously in CHF during several of these tests. Only one test showed elevated levels >100, and even that one was considered to be borderline at the time. My cardio feels that although it can be a useful tool when used in conjunction with other tests, it is just not accurate enough to be used as the sole diagnostic or screening tool. It would be nice if it were that easy though, wouldn't it?

        Perhaps I am the exception here, and I would like to hear everyone else's thoughts on this as well. However the fact remains that if a BNP test had been used to screen me for HCM... I would have passed.

        By coincidence, I have a BNP scheduled for this coming wednesday, and it will be interesting to compare my pre- and post-myectomy values. I'll let ya know what I find out.

        Thanks for posting that, Burton.

        "Some days you're the dog... some days you're the hydrant."


        • #5
          Re: Simple Blood Test to Identify Left Ventricular Dysfuncti

          It is my understanding that the biggest advantage to the BNP test at this point in time, is to determine between a respiratory or cardiac cause of shortness of breath and allow earlier, more accurate treatment for the specific underlying cause. It's often confusing which is causing the acute problem when so many people have both heart and lung problems. Meds are given according to which is the primary cause. The full value of the test isn't determined yet - in time, I'm sure there will be many more bits of info gained from it. Lisa, if our medical advisors have more to offer on this, I know you will post it. Anyone else? Linda


          • #6
            Re: Simple Blood Test to Identify Left Ventricular Dysfuncti

            Hi folks,
            You all make very good points and the BNP test claims an accuracy of only a little over ninety percent, but I look at it this way –
            1. Right now most schools require no prior physical at all.
            2. Many of those that require a physical usually supply only a cursory check-up, sometimes by the school nurse.
            3. Most schools can not afford to give prospective athletes echocardiograms.
            4. Although it won’t catch everybody, this cheap blood test will give a pretty good indicator as to who should get the echocardiograms – along with the proper medical question sheet.
            5. Anybody this cheap test catches is one more person who won’t drop dead on the playing field.
            I think that would be a worth wile course to follow.


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