A routine blood test could predict the likelihood of congestive heart failure in patients who have a high risk of relapse and readmission after being discharged from hospital, according to a study from Johns Hopkins University in the US.
Researchers analysed 241 heart failure patients who were admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital between June 2006 and April 2007.
The patients were tested on admission and discharge for levels of N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), a protein considered to be marker for heart stress.
In previous studies, levels of NT-proBNP have been correlated with heart failure symptoms and have been associated with an increase in adverse outcomes.
Researchers found that patients whose protein levels dropped by less than 50% over the course of their hospital stay were 57% more likely to be readmitted or die within a year, when compared to those whose levels dropped by a greater percentage.
They added that testing for NT-proBNP at the beginning and end of hospitalisation could help identify patients who are ready to be released and the ones are at higher risk of relapse and readmission.