1. Plasma levels of atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and brain natriuretic peptides (BNP) were measured, along with left and right atrial and left ventricular volumes, in eight patients with chronic renal failure before and after the removal of 2.1 ± 0.61 of fluid by ultrafiltration and again during volume repletion with intravenous sodium chloride solution (150 mmol/l saline) to restore body weight plus 0.5 kg.

2. Baseline levels of ANP (46.0 ± 7.5 pmol/l) and BNP (22.0 ± 4.4 pmol/l) were elevated above normal. There was a significant reduction in plasma ANP (26.5 ± 4.7 pmol/l, P < 0.05) and BNP (19.1 ± 4.9 pmol/l, P < 0.05)) following ultrafiltration. Changes in plasma ANP during ultrafiltration correlated significantly with changes in left atrial volume (r = 0.643, P < 0.05).

3. During volume repletion there was an exaggerated release of ANP (mean level post repletion 71.3 ± 20.8 pmol/l) which was not paralleled by changes in BNP. Changes in BNP were small, showing no correlation with atrial or ventricular volumes during either ultrafiltration or volume repletion.

4. These findings indicate that in chronic renal failure without left ventricular dysfunction, moderate acute changes in volume status elict only small immediate responses in plasma BNP. Changes in plasma ANP are greater than BNP and more responsive to changes in left atrial volume.

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