Date: 09 Mar 2010

Benefits of biomarkers in heart failure

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Introduction

In patients with heart failure, the progression of the disease, regardless of etiology, is a major cause for the high hospitalization and mortality rates. Myocardial injury and stress, inflammation, and ventricular remodeling play a central role in this process. Biomarkers derived from the blood are not only of profound diagnostic value, but may also provide insights into the pathogenesis of heart failure. Some biomarkers may themselves be risk factors and may, therefore, be useful for risk stratification and therapeutic management. Numerous biomarkers have been proposed to have plausible links to the clinical entity of heart failure, with many reported to identify subjects at an increased risk for future cardiovascular events, independent of the presence of other established risk factors. Much of the recent debate over emerging biomarkers focuses on the questions of how much incremental value is provided and what the best measures are to quantify improvements in diagnostic ...