, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 305-311
Date: 29 Feb 2008

Effect of Beta-blockade and ACE Inhibition on B-type Natriuretic Peptides in Stable Patients with Systolic Heart Failure

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The long-term effect of beta-blockade on the plasma levels of natriuretic peptides BNP and its N-terminal counterpart, NT-proBNP, as risk markers in heart failure (HF) is obscure.


Stable systolic HF patients from the CARMEN study were divided in groups matching their randomised treatment allocation: Carvedilol, enalapril or carvedilol+enalapril. Changes in BNP and NT-proBNP from baseline to 6 months maintenance visit were evaluated in each treatment arm. Furthermore, the prognostic value of BNP and NT-proBNP during monotherapy with carvedilol was assessed with univariate Cox proportional hazards models using a combined endpoint of all cause mortality and cardiovascular hospitalisation.


NT-proBNP and BNP were significantly reduced after six months treatment with enalapril (NT-proBNP 1,303 to 857 pg/ml (P < 0.001), BNP 119 to 85 pg/ml (P < 0.001)) or carvedilol+enalapril (NT-proBNP 1,223 to 953 pg/ml (P = 0.003), BNP 117 to 93 pg/ml (P = 0.01)). In contrast, no change was observed in the carvedilol group (NT-proBNP 907 to 1,082 pg/ml (P = 0.06), BNP 114 to 130 pg/ml (P = 0.15). The prognostic value of NT-proBNP and BNP was maintained in the carvedilol group (NT-proBNP HR 1.018 95% CI (1.005–1.032), BNP 1.171 (1.088–1.260)).


Treatment of HF patients with carvedilol alone does not reduce levels of natriuretic peptides, but treatment with enalapril does. Both BNP and NT-proBNP predict death and hospitalisation in HF patients treated with carvedilol for six months. The clinical implication of our results is that NT-proBNP and BNP can be used as risk markers of death and cardiovascular hospitalisations in systolic HF patients receiving carvedilol without ACE inhibition.

The work originates from Cardiology Dept., Frederiksberg University Hospital, Frederiksberg, Denmark.
The work was funded by a grant from The Danish Heart Foundation, Copenhagen, Denmark.