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NT-proBNP Test could save the North American healthcare system nearly 600 million US dollars


Basel, 6 December 2006

New data presented recently underlines the economic benefit of the Roche Diagnostics’ NT-proBNP Test

New data presented at the 2006 American Heart Association’s (AHA) Scientific Sessions show that the introduction of Roche Diagnostics’ NT-proBNP test could generate yearly savings up to $600 million in the U.S. Healthcare system. The test significantly shortened the emergency room visits of patients by helping doctors to decide which patients with shortness of breath had heart failure and which had other conditions. Heart failure (HF) affects around 5 million Americans and more than 200,000 Canadians.

Dr. Gordon W. Moe, cardiologist and director of the heart failure program and biomarker laboratory at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada, conducted this trial and commented: “Our economic analysis found that adding this test to physician judgment reduced the duration of the emergency department visit as well as the number of patients hospitalized. It is estimated that around 1 million people are hospitalized for heart failure every year in the U.S. and 80,000 in Canada. The use of Roche’s NT-proBNP test could lead to savings of close to 1,000 U.S. dollars per patient.”

About the study
This was the first multi-center randomized-controlled trial with a NT-proBNP guided strategy in the management of patients presenting with shortness of breath in the emergency department. It was found that adding this test to physician judgment significantly reduced the duration of the emergency department visit from an average of 6.3 hours to an average of 5.6 hours. In addition, it reduced the number of patients hospitalized within 60 days from 51 to 33. The trial was conducted in seven hospitals. Researchers conducted the study on 501 patients, 52 percent male with a mean age of 71 years, who arrived at the hospitals’ emergency with shortness of breath — a classic symptom of heart failure. Shortness of breath is also a common symptom of other conditions such as worsening (lung) disease, pneumonia and some heart attacks, forcing emergency physicians to spend a lot of time trying to reach a diagnosis.

The first single-center, non-randomized study, published in American Journal of Cardiology September 2006, was performed at Massachusetts General Hospital in the U.S.. The objective of this study was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of using NT-proBNP to guide the diagnostic assessment and management of patients presenting with dyspnea in emergency departments. NT-proBNP testing was associated with a 9.4% reduction in costs, translating into savings of $ 474 per patient. More than 90% of these savings were attributed to prevented or reduced hospitalization (Am J Cardiol 2006; 98(6):800-805; Cost-Effectiveness of Using N-Terminal Pro-Brain Natriuretic Peptide to Guide the Diagnostic assessment and Management of Dyspneic Patients in the Emergency Department; U. Siebert, J.L. Januzzi, M.T. Beinfeld, R. Cameron, G.S. Gazelle).

About NT-proBNP
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is associated with high morbidity and mortality. Early and accurate diagnosis of CHF is crucial for better quality of care and cost-effective management of patients with CHF. Rapid and accurate tests for the diagnosis of CHF in an urgent-care setting are therefore required. NT-proBNP and B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) have been shown to provide incremental value in the rapid diagnosis of CHF in the emergency room. The N-terminal fragment of proBNP (NT-proBNP) is the high molecular weight fragment of the precursor of BNP. Due to its greater stability, NT-proBNP may represent a more useful diagnostic marker than BNP for cardiovascular disorders including CHF.

About Roche
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the world’s leading research-focused healthcare groups in the fields of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. As a supplier of innovative products and services for the early detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, the Group contributes on a broad range of fronts to improving people’s health and quality of life. Roche is a world leader in diagnostics, the leading supplier of medicines for cancer and transplantation and a market leader in virology. In 2005 sales by the Pharmaceuticals Division totalled 27.3 billion Swiss francs, and the Diagnostics Division posted sales of 8.2 billion Swiss francs. Roche employs roughly 70,000 people in 150 countries and has R&D agreements and strategic alliances with numerous partners, including majority ownership interests in Genentech and Chugai. Additional information about the Roche Group is available on the Internet (

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