MEA Summary Review: Elevated BNP levels in ME/CFS associate with cardiac dysfunction | 14 February 2018

February 14, 2018


By Charlotte Stephens, 14th February 2018.

A recent study from a research group at Newcastle University has found that patients with ME/CFS have significantly higher levels of a hormone called BNP in their blood and that this also correlated with significantly lower cardiac volumes.

Structural and functional cardiac abnormalities have been reported in ME/CFS before and MRI studies have suggested subclinical cardiomyopathy in some.

Finding a cause for the cardiac abnormalities and raised BNP levels seen in patients could help in the discovery of the physiological mechanisms behind the disease and could also help to direct treatment routes.

Overview of the study

The study aimed to look at BNP levels and how these associate with the cardiac abnormalities recently identified in ME/CFS.

Cardiac magnetic resonance (MR) examinations and BNP measurements were performed on 42 patients with ME/CFS (meeting the Fukuda criteria) and 10 sedentary controls, all with an average age of 46.

BNP levels were found to be significantly higher in the ME/CFS cohort compared with controls. The authors also found that those with higher BNP levels had significantly lower cardiac volumes.

There were no relationships between fatigue severity, length of disease and BNP levels, suggesting that the findings are unlikely to be related to deconditioning.

‘This study confirms an association between reduced cardiac volumes and BNP in CFS. Lack of relationship between length of disease suggests that findings are not secondary to deconditioning. Further studies are needed to explore the utility of BNP to act as a stratification paradigm in CFS that directs targeted treatments.’

Read the full review online or as a download

Image copyright: nerthuz / 123RF Stock Photo

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