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AHRQ releases evidence report on tests for heart failure

A new report released by AHRQ finds that tests for the natriuretic peptides BNP and NT-proBNP can be used to rule out heart failure in patients seen in emergency rooms, clinics, and primary care settings. While elevated levels of these peptides do not confirm that heart problems are causing a patient's symptoms, relatively low levels make it unlikely that these heart problems are present.

The report, Testing for BNP and NT-proBNP in the Diagnosis and Prognosis of Heart Failure, Evidence Report/Technology Assessment No. 142, was prepared at the request of the American Association of Clinical Chemistry and the American College of Chest Physicians to use in updating relevant clinical practice guidelines. The American College of Physicians and the American College of Emergency Physicians will be partners in the dissemination and use of the report. AHRQ's Evidence-based Practice Center at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, conducted the systematic literature review and prepared the report.

Copies of this report (AHRQ Publication No. 06-E014) are available online at or from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

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