Congest Heart Fail. 2010;16(4)(suppl 1):S37–S44. ©2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Arginine vasopressin (AVP or antidiuretic hormone) is one of the key hormones in the human body responsible for a variety of cardiovascular and renal functions. It has so far escaped introduction into the routine clinical laboratory due to technical difficulties and preanalytical errors. Copeptin, the C-terminal part of the AVP precursor peptide, was found to be a stable and sensitive surrogate marker for AVP release. Copeptin behaves in a similar manner to mature AVP in the circulation, with respect to osmotic stimuli and hypotension. During the past years, copeptin measurement has been shown to be of interest in a variety of clinical indications, including cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure, myocardial infarction, and stroke. This review summarizes the recent progress on the diagnostic use of copeptin in cardiovascular and renal diseases and discusses the potential use of copeptin measurement in the context of therapeutic interventions with vasopressin receptor antagonists.