Heart failure is the leading cause for hospitalization in the United States, resulting in over $8 billion in costs annually. Over 4.8 million Americans are afflicted with the disease and the number is increasing as the baby boomer generation continues to age. It is imperative that new and innovative modalities of therapy and diagnosis evolve as we continue to redefine the nature of heart failure and discover more about this debilitating disease.
This article addresses the implications for endogenous brain (B-type) natriuretic peptide (BNP) testing in patients diagnosed with heart failure as well as the implications for the first available form of exogenous BNP, nesiritide. In addition, the pathophysiology of heart failure and traditional treatment modalities are discussed.