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Researchers Use Adult BNP Test to Diagnose Heart Disease in Children


A test currently used to diagnose adult patients with cardiovascular disease could be effective in diagnosing critical heart disease in infants and young children, according to Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta pediatric researchers.

The research led by Kevin Maher, MD, found that B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) testing, can be used as a marker to aid in the recognition of pediatric heart disease. Findings from the study were published in the June 2008 issue of the journal Pediatrics.

The study evaluated and diagnosed 33 pediatric patients visiting the ER with various types of heart disease. Use of such tests could dramatically increase the chances of diagnosing heart problems early, before more serious complications arise, according to Maher and team.

“This means that the same test physicians use to diagnose heart disease in a 75-year-old can now be used to diagnose heart disease in an infant,” says Maher, assistant professor of pediatrics at Emory and a pediatric cardiologist on staff at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Sibley Heart Center.

“This discovery will aid emergency physicians in the recognition of pediatric heart disease and has great lifesaving potential,” says Maher.


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