Effect of 6-min Walk Test on pro-BNP Levels in Patients with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
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Plasma pro-BNP (brain natriuretic peptide) levels are often elevated in response to right ventricular (RV) volume and pressure overload, parameters potentially affected by exercise. Plasma pro-BNP levels change in association with long-term changes in pulmonary hemodynamics, thereby serving as a potential biomarker in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). The 6-min Walk Test (6MWT) and pro-BNP level are often checked in a single office visit. There is no universal standard for measuring Pro-BNP levels relative to the timing of the 6MWT. Based on the studies in normal subjects indicating that pro-BNP levels changes after exercise, we hypothesized that the pro-BNP might rise after the 6MWT in PAH patients, potentially impacting clinical decisions.
Patients at our center with WHO Group 1 PAH on active therapy at a stable dose for 30 days or more were enrolled. After resting the patient for 30 min, blood was drawn for baseline pro-BNP and a 6MWT was performed. Pro-BNP levels were drawn immediately after the 6MWT and 1 and 2 h later. Pro-BNP was measured using a commercially available ELISA kit. The levels before exercise and after exercise were compared using student’s paired t tests.
There were 17 females and 3 male subjects. The mean age was 53 ± 11 years. Seven patients had systemic lupus erythematosus-related PAH, six had idiopathic PAH, three had scleroderma, three had portopulmonary hypertension, and one had HIV-related PAH. The mean PA pressure was 50 ± 15 mmHg with a mean pulmonary vascular resistance of 10 ± 4 Wood units. The majority of the patients were on multimodality PAH therapy, including parenteral prostacyclins. Mean 6MWT distance was 377 ± 140 m. In 14/20 patients, the pro-BNP level increased immediately after the 6MWT; in 12/20 patients, the pro-BNP level was elevated at 1 h post exercise. In the majority of the patients, the pro-BNP fell to baseline 2 h post 6MWT.
There appears to be a trend of pro-BNP level increasing immediately after exercise and continuing to be elevated at 1 h. Pro-BNP levels then return to baseline at 2 h post 6MWT.
KeywordsPulmonary hypertension Pro-BNP Six-min walk test
VP: Study design, conducted the study, data collection, manuscript preparation. RA: Study design, manuscript preparation. BJ: Running the samples, manuscript preparation. WH: Running the samples, manuscript preparation. HJF: Study design, patient identification, manuscript preparation.
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Conflict of interest
The authors report no real or potential conflict of interest.
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