Biomarkers have dramatically impacted the way heart failure (HF) patients are evaluated and managed. A biomarker is a characteristic that is objectively measured and evaluated as an indicator of normal biological or pathogenic processes, or pharmacological responses to a therapeutic intervention. Natriuretic peptides (B-type natriuretic peptide [BNP] and N-terminal proBNP) are the gold standard biomarkers in determining the diagnosis and prognosis of HF, and a natriuretic peptide-guided HF management looks promising. In the last few years, an array of additional biomarkers has emerged, each reflecting different pathophysiological processes in the development and progression of HF: myocardial insult, inflammation, fibrosis and remodeling, but their role in the clinical care of the patient is still partially defined and more studies are needed before to be well validated. Moreover, several new biomarkers have the potential to identify patients with early renal dysfunction and appear to have promise to help the management cardio-renal syndrome. With different biomarkers reflecting HF presence, the various pathways involved in its progression, as well as identifying unique treatment options for HF management, a closer cardiologist-laboratory link, with a multi-biomarker approach to the HF patient, is not far ahead, allowing the unique opportunity for specifically tailoring care to the individual pathological phenotype.
- General Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine