A review of the natriuretic hormone system's diagnostic and therapeutic potential in critically ill children

John M. Costello*, Denise M. Goodman, Thomas P. Green

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To review the natriuretic hormone system and discuss its diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic potential in critically ill children. DATA SOURCE: A thorough literature search of MEDLINE was performed using search terms including heart defects, congenital; cardiopulmonary bypass, atrial natriuretic factor; natriuretic peptide, brain; carperitide; nesiritide. Preclinical and clinical investigations and review articles were identified that describe the current understanding of the natriuretic hormone system and its role in the regulation of vascular tone and fluid balance in healthy adults and children and in those with underlying cardiac, pulmonary, and renal disease. RESULTS: A predictable activation of the natriuretic hormone system occurs in children with congenital heart disease and congestive heart failure. Further study is needed to confirm preliminary reports that measurement of natriuretic hormone levels in critically ill children provides diagnostic and prognostic information, as has been demonstrated in adult cardiac populations. Natriuretic hormone infusions provide favorable hemodynamic changes and symptomatic relief when used in adults with decompensated congestive heart failure, and uncontrolled case series suggest that similar benefits may exist in children. The biological activity of the natriuretic hormone system may be decreased following pediatric cardiopulmonary bypass, and additional studies are needed to determine whether natriuretic hormone infusions provide clinical benefit in the postoperative period. Preliminary reports suggest that natriuretic hormone infusions cause physiologic improvements in adults with acute lung injury and asthma but not in those with acute renal failure. CONCLUSIONS: Although important perturbations of the natriuretic hormone system occur in critically ill infants and children, further investigation is needed before the measurement of natriuretic peptides and the use of natriuretic hormone infusions are incorporated into routine practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-318
Number of pages11
JournalPediatric Critical Care Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • Atrial natriuretic factor
  • Brain
  • Cardiopulmonary bypass
  • Congenital
  • Congestive
  • Diuretics
  • Heart defects
  • Heart failure
  • Natriuretic peptide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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