Scientific article
Open access

Sensitivity and specificity of NT-proBNP to detect heart failure at post mortem examination

Published inInternational journal of legal medicine, vol. 125, no. 6, p. 849-856
  • Open Access - Licence nationale Springer
Publication date2011

NT-proBNP, a marker of cardiac failure, has been shown to be stable in post mortem samples. The aim of this study was to assess the accuracy of NT-proBNP to detect heart failure in the forensic setting. One hundred sixty-eight consecutive autopsies were included in the study. NT-proBNP blood concentrations were measured using a chemiluminescent immunoassay kit. Cardiac failure was assessed by three independent forensic experts using macro- and microscopic findings complemented by information about the circumstances of body discovery and the known medical story. Area under the receiving operator curve was of 65.4% (CI 95%, from 57.1 to 73.7). Using a standard cut-off value of >220 pg/mL for NT-proBNP blood concentration, heart failure was detected with a sensitivity of 50.7% and a specificity of 72.6%. NT-proBNP vitreous humor values were well correlated to the ones measured in blood (r (2) = 0.658). Our results showed that NT-proBNP can corroborate the pathological findings in cases of natural death related to heart failure, thus, keeping its diagnostic properties passing from the ante mortem to the post mortem setting. Therefore, biologically inactive polypeptides like NT-proBNP seem to be stable enough to be used in forensic medicine as markers of cardiac failure, taking into account the sensitivity and specificity of the test.

  • Aged
  • Autopsy
  • Biological Markers/blood
  • Cause of Death
  • Female
  • Heart Failure/blood/diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Luminescent Measurements
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain/blood
  • Peptide Fragments/blood
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
Citation (ISO format)
SABATASSO, Sara et al. Sensitivity and specificity of NT-proBNP to detect heart failure at post mortem examination. In: International journal of legal medicine, 2011, vol. 125, n° 6, p. 849–856. doi: 10.1007/s00414-011-0581-6
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0937-9827

Technical informations

Creation11/15/2012 2:02:00 PM
First validation11/15/2012 2:02:00 PM
Update time03/14/2023 7:53:33 PM
Status update03/14/2023 7:53:33 PM
Last indexation01/16/2024 12:46:09 AM
All rights reserved by Archive ouverte UNIGE and the University of GenevaunigeBlack