Early N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide is associated with cardiac complications and function during pregnancy in congenital heart disease

A. S. Siegmund, P. G. Pieper, B. J. Bouma, F. M. Rosenberg, H. Groen, C. M. Bilardo, D. J. van Veldhuisen, M. G. Dickinson*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: Elevated N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) levels at 20 weeks’ gestation predict adverse cardiovascular (CV) complications during pregnancy in women with congenital heart disease (CHD). To improve early risk assessment in these women, we investigated the predictive value of first-trimester NT-proBNP for CV complications and its association with ventricular function during pregnancy. Methods: Pregnant women with CHD, previously enrolled in a prospective national study or evaluated by an identical protocol, were included. Clinical data, echocardiographic evaluation and NT-proBNP measurements were obtained at 12, 20 and 32 weeks’ gestation. Elevated NT-proBNP was defined as > 235 pg/ml (95th percentile reference value of healthy pregnant women in the literature). Results: We examined 126 females (mean age 29 years). Elevated NT-proBNP at 12 weeks was associated with CV complications (n = 7, 5.6%, odds ratio 10.9, p = 0.004). Arrhythmias were the most common complication (71%). The negative predictive value of low NT-proBNP to exclude CV complications was 97.2%. In women with CV complications, NT-proBNP levels remained high throughout pregnancy, while a decrease was seen in women without CV complications (p < 0.001 for interaction between group and time). At 12 weeks, higher NT-proBNP levels were associated with impaired subpulmonary ventricular function (p < 0.001) and also with a decline in subpulmonary ventricular function later in pregnancy (p = 0.012). Conclusions: In this study, first-trimester NT-proBNP levels were associated with adverse CV complications and a decline in subpulmonary ventricular function later in pregnancy in women with CHD. Early NT-proBNP evaluation is useful for tailored care in pregnant women with CHD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-272
Number of pages11
JournalNetherlands Heart Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May-2021


  • Cardiovascular complications
  • Congenital heart disease
  • N‑terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide
  • Pregnancy
  • Right ventricular function

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