The purpose of this study was to clarify whether the secretions of atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) are pulsatile in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF), and whether the rhythmic oscillations for ANP and BNP are abnormal in patients with CHF. Several reports have shown that ANP and especially BNP are valuable indicators of the prognosis in CHF. Previously, a pulsatile secretion has been described for ANP and BNP in healthy humans and for ANP in CHF patients. More information about the secretion pattern of BNP in heart failure is necessary to increase the clinical usefulness of BNP in patients with CHF. Patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction and CHF (n = 12) and controls (n = 12) were investigated. Plasma ANP and BNP levels were determined every 2min during a 2-h period by radioimmunoassay and analysed for pulsatile behaviour by Fourier transformation. All patients and controls had significant rhythmic oscillations in plasma ANP levels, and 11 patients with CHF and 10 controls had significant rhythmic oscillations in plasma BNP levels. The amplitude of the main frequency was considerably higher in patients with CHF than in controls (ANP: CHF, 4.76pmol/l; controls, 0.75pmol/l; P<0.01. BNP: CHF, 3.24pmol/l; controls, 0.23pmol/l; P<0.001; all values are medians), but the main frequency did not differ significantly between the group with CHF and the control group for either ANP or BNP. Patients with CHF demonstrate pulsatile secretion of ANP and BNP with a much higher absolute amplitude, but with the same main frequency as healthy subjects.

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