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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

New MBS listing of non-invasive test for heart disease management

Health Industry Hub | July 9, 2024 |

Diagnostics & MedTech News: Effective July 1, 2024, a new Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) item has been introduced, enabling the measurement of biomarkers N-terminal pro B-type natriuretic peptide (NTproBNP) or BNP levels via blood tests to assess the risk in patients diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).

This development follows a successful MSAC submission spearheaded by Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine (formerly Janssen), catalysed by updated guidelines from the 2022 European Society of Cardiology and the European Respiratory Society (ESC/ESR) on PAH management.

Compared to heart catheterisation (RHC) and transthoracic echocardiograms (TTE), BNP and NT-proBNP blood tests offer a non-invasive and more accessible diagnostic alternative, especially beneficial for individuals in remote or rural areas where TTEs are less readily available.

“NT-proBNP provides insight into the patient condition with heart failure that we can’t easily get any other way,” noted Professor Andrew Coats, Scientific Director and CEO of the Heart Research Institute in Sydney.

Recent findings from the multinational STRONG-HF trial underscore the utility of NT-proBNP in guiding the aggressive adjustment of guideline-directed medical therapy (GDMT) for hospitalised heart failure (HF) patients.

“The NT-proBNP changes over the course of the up-titration phase was very helpful in predicting the response of therapy and the outcome of patients,” said Professor John Amerena from Geelong Cardiology Research Unit.

Several Australian companies, including Roche Diagnostics, Siemens Healthineers, Abbott, BioMerieux, and Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, manufacture immunoassays for detecting NT-proBNP.

The MSAC decision and subsequent MBS listing were informed by consultations with key stakeholders, including the Australian Scleroderma Interest Group (ASIG), Scleroderma Australia, Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand, Australian Rheumatology Association, Public Pathology Australia, Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia, and Lung Foundation Australia.

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