• Open Access

Multicenter Evaluation of Plasma N-Terminal Probrain Natriuretic Peptide (NT-pro BNP) as a Biochemical Screening Test for Asymptomatic (occult) Cardiomyopathy in Cats


  • This work was performed between 2007 and 2009 by listed investigators at university and private practice clinics.
  • Preliminary results were presented at the 26th ACVIM Forum, San Antonio, TX, June, 2008.
  • Study Support: This study was supported in part by a grant from IDEXX Laboratories, Westbrook, ME.

Corresponding author: P.R. Fox, Caspary Institute, The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62 Street, New York, NY 10065; e-mail: philip.fox@amcny.org.



B-type natriuretic peptide concentrations reliably distinguish between cardiac and respiratory causes of dyspnea, but its utility to detect asymptomatic cats with occult cardiomyopathy (OCM) is unresolved.


Determine whether plasma N terminal probrain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) concentration can discriminate asymptomatic cats with OCM from normal cats, and whether NT-proBNP concentration correlates with clinical, biochemical, and echocardiographic parameters.


One hundred and fourteen normal, healthy cats; 113 OCM cats.


Prospective, multicenter, case-controlled study. NT-proBNP was prospectively measured and cardiac status was determined from history, physical examination, and M-mode/2D/Doppler echocardiography. Optimal cut-off values were derived using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis.


NT-proBNP was higher (median, interquartile range [25th and 75th percentiles]) in (1) OCM (186 pmol/L; 79, 478 pmol/L) versus normal (24 pmol/L; 24, 32 pmol/L) (< .001); and (2) hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (396 pmol/L; 205, 685 pmol/L) versus hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (112 pmol/L; 48, 318 pmol/L) (< .001). In OCM, NT-proBNP correlated (1) positively with LVPWd (ρ = 0.23; P = .01), LA/Ao ratio (ρ = 0.31; P < .001), LVs (ρ = 0.33; P < .001), and troponin-I (ρ = 0.64; P < .001), and (2) negatively with %FS (ρ = −0.27; P = .004). Area under ROC curve was 0.92; >46 pmol/L cut-off distinguished normal from OCM (91.2% specificity, 85.8% sensitivity); >99 pmol/L cut-off was 100% specific, 70.8% sensitive.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance:

Plasma NT-proBNP concentration reliably discriminated normal from OCM cats, and was associated with several echocardiographic markers of disease severity. Further studies are needed to assess test performance in unselected, general feline populations, and evaluate relationships between NT-proBNP concentrations and disease progression.