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Volume 25(1), Spring 2015

Reprint paper

Dyspnoea in cats: is it the heart?

Differentiating between feline pleural effusions of cardiac and non-cardiac origin using pleural fluid NT-proBNP concentrations

by Karen Humm, Melanie J Hezzell, Julia Sargent, David J. Connolly and Adrian Boswood

Avoiding stress


Performing venepuncture on a cat in respiratory distress due to pleural fluid can be challenging and the stress it causes can be deleterious. As therapeutic thoracocentesis is mandatory in such cases and the collection of voided urine involves no contact with the animal, the value of NT-proBNP measurement in these fluids over serum is clear if they were to be diagnostic of cardiac disease.

Differential diagnosis with a lab test


Box and whisker plots of NT-proBNP measurements for cats with cardiac (blue) and non-cardiac (green) causes of pleural effusion in plasma (1), pleural fluid (2) and urine (3).

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© Juliette BESSO

Pleural effusion


Cats frequently present to veterinary practitioners with dyspnoea secondary to pleural effusion. Disease processes causing pleural fluid accumulation ...

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Objective: To assess whether pleural fluid and urine amino terminal proB-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) can distinguish cardiac from non-cardiac causes of pleural effusion.

Methods: Blood, urine and pleural fluid were prospectively collected from cats presenting with pleural effusion categorised as cardiac or non-cardiac in origin. NT-ProBNP concentrations were measured using

a feline-specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Groups were statistically compared and receiver operating characteristic curves constructed to determine cut-offs to distinguish cardiac from non-cardiac pleural effusion in plasma, pleural fluid and urine. ...

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