It has been over 20 years since natriuretic peptides (NPs) were first introduced as biomarkers for the diagnosis of heart failure1,2. Even though NPs are recommended as initial diagnostic tests in patients with symptoms suggestive of HF in the current clinical practice guidelines of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA), the adoption of NPs among many countries is very limited3,4. The newly established Peptide for Life initiative aims to identify the barriers to guideline implementation and help close the gap in biomarker availability.
Peptide for Life (PfL) is a spin-off project following the recent report of the Heart Failure Association (HFA) Atlas which unveiled stark disparities between the ESC member countries in the usage of NT-proBNP and proBNP in the emergency departments5,6. This initiative is a call to action to promote, educate and ultimately provide equal access to NPs in heart failure diagnosis and treatment across Europe. Within the framework of PfL, the ESC, HFA and National Heart Failure Societies (NHFS) will join forces to understand the reasons behind the low uptake of NPs and build clinical confidence in biomarkers as diagnostic tools in HF patient management. Several educational activities are planned, including clinical case mentoring and follow-up surveillance to identify and foster good clinical practices. The program has already been initiated in the Balkan area identified as the one with poorest access to NPs in Europe.
It is important to note that the use of NPs in heart failure is not only beneficial to the patients but can also contribute to lowering the economic burden of HF for the healthcare system. It allows for faster initiation of the appropriate therapy, earlier discharge from the emergency department and contributes to lowering total treatment cost in the emergency department7-11.
It is high time to embrace the power of biomarkers and harness all the potential they have to offer. To learn more, listen to Prof. Antoni Bayes Genis, Prof. Petar Seferovic and Prof. Zlatko Fras talk about the Peptide for Life initiative.