Background: Although intensive blood pressure reduction has cardiovascular benefits, the absolute benefit is greater in those at higher cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Objectives: This study examined whether N-terminal pro–B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) helps identify subjects at higher risk for CVD events across systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), or pulse pressure (PP) categories. Methods: Participants from the ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk In Communities) study visit 4 (1996 to 98) were grouped according to SBP, DBP, or PP categories and further stratified by NT-proBNP categories. Cox regression models were used to estimate hazard ratios for incident CVD (coronary heart disease, ischemic stroke, or heart failure hospitalization) and mortality across combined NT-proBNP and/or BP categories, adjusting for CVD risk factors. Results: There were 9,309 participants (age: 62.6 ± 5.6 years; 58.3% women) with 2,416 CVD events over a median follow-up of 16.7 years. Within each SBP, DBP, or PP category, a higher category of NT-proBNP (100 to <300 or 300 pg/ml, compared with NT-proBNP <100 pg/ml) was associated with a graded increased risk for CVD events and mortality. Participants with SBP 130 to 139 mm Hg but NT-proBNP ≥300 pg/ml had a hazards ratio of 3.4 for CVD (95% confidence interval: 2.44 to 4.77) compared with a NT-proBNP of <100 pg/ml and SBP of 140 to 149 mm Hg. Conclusions: Elevated NT-proBNP is independently associated with CVD and mortality across SBP, DBP, and PP categories and helps identify subjects at the highest risk. Participants with stage 1 hypertension but elevated NT-proBNP had greater cardiovascular risk compared with those with stage 2 SBP but lower NT-proBNP. Future studies are needed to evaluate use of biomarker-based strategies for CVD risk assessment to assist with initiation or intensification of BP treatment.
- blood pressure
- cardiac biomarkers
- cardiovascular disease
- cardiovascular risk assessment