The aim of this article is to evaluate the clinical utility of brain natriuretic peptide in pediatric patients, examining the diagnostic value, management, and prognostic relevance, by critical assessment of the literature.
In December 2015, a literature search was performed (PubMed access to MEDLINE citations; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/) and included these Medical Subject Headings and text terms for the key words: “brain natriuretic peptide,” “amino-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide,” “children,” “neonate/s,” “newborn/s,” “infant/s,” and “echocardiography.”
Each article title and abstract was screened to identify relevant studies. The search strategy was limited to published studies in English language concerning brain natriuretic peptide/amino-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide in pediatric patients.
Data on age, gender, type of clinical condition, brain natriuretic peptide assay method, cardiac function variables evaluated by echocardiography, and prognosis were extracted.
Brain natriuretic peptide reference values in healthy newborns, infants, and children are presented. Brain natriuretic peptide diagnostic accuracy in newborns, infants, and children suspected to have congenital heart defects is discussed, and brain natriuretic peptide prognostic value reviewed. The data suggest that the determination of brain natriuretic peptide levels improves the diagnostic accuracy in the assessment of heart disease in the pediatric population. Brain natriuretic peptide assay may increase the accuracy of neonatal screening programs for diagnosing congenital heart defects. Echocardiographic variables correlated to brain natriuretic peptide levels. Additionally, brain natriuretic peptide levels predicted adverse outcomes in the postoperative period.
Brain natriuretic peptide assessment is a reliable test to diagnose significant structural or functional cardiovascular disease in children. In the integrated follow-up of these cases, several physiologic and clinical variables must be considered; brain natriuretic peptide may be an additional helpful marker. Nevertheless, larger prospective studies are warranted to elucidate the true prognostic value of brain natriuretic peptide in pediatric patients.