Use of BNP and CRP as biomarkers in assessing cardiovascular disease: Diagnosis versus risk

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Biomarkers are used in medicine to facilitate diagnosis, assess risk, direct therapy and determine efficacy of treatment. Sensitivity and specificity are essential in order for a biomarker to be useful. Brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) and C-reactive protein (CRP) are considered biomarkers of cardiovascular disease. However, they differ in function, sensitivity and specificity. BNP is released from the myocardium in response to myocardial stretch, a clear cause and effect relationship; therefore, it is useful in the diagnosis of heart failure when patients present with dyspnea of unknown origin and to assess treatment in high risk patients with diagnosed heart failure. Sex and age based reference ranges and partition values are established from clinical trials and from populations screened for the absence of cardiovascular disease. Highly sensitive and reproducible methods are also available to measure CRP. However, although CRP is associated with adverse cardiovascular events, unlike BNP, multiple stimuli increase production of CRP. Therefore, elevation in CRP is not specific to cardiovascular disease. Partition values for CRP, and cardiovascular risk based on epidemiological studies predict risk for populations but may not always be useful when used alone to predict individual risk or to direct therapy. Given the non-specific stimuli which affect circulating concentrations of CRP, using CRP to monitor treatment to reduce cardiovascular risk may provide little benefit without understanding or targeting the underlying causes for its elevation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-25
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Vascular Pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • B-type natriuretic peptide
  • BNP
  • C-reactive protein
  • CRP
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Estrogen
  • Heart failure
  • Hormone replacement therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Use of BNP and CRP as biomarkers in assessing cardiovascular disease: Diagnosis versus risk'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this