WALTHAM, Mass., Sept. 23, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- BG Medicine, Inc. (Nasdaq:BGMD) announced today the publication of the results of a clinical research study conducted at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) that provide further evidence that elevated levels of galectin-3 are predictive of adverse outcomes in chronic heart failure patients and suggest that the prognostic value of this non-invasive biomarker may be enhanced when serial measurements are made over time. In this clinical research study, which was recently published online in the European Journal of Heart Failure, first author Dr. Shweta Motiwala and colleagues of the Division of Cardiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital demonstrate that stable heart failure patients whose galectin-3 blood levels were greater than 20 ng/ml, when measured at three-month intervals, experienced 50% more cardiovascular events, including unplanned hospitalizations for heart failure, than patients whose galectin-3 levels were consistently lower than 20 ng/ml. 1 Further, these research data, which were collected from over 900 outpatient visits, also found that increases in galectin-3 levels above a threshold value of 20 ng/ml between outpatient visits, and increases in galectin-3 levels in excess of 15% at any three-month interval, were also predictive of significantly increased risk of adverse outcomes, including unplanned hospitalizations. "We believe that the results of this research study further support a large body of evidence regarding the utility of galectin-3 as a predictor of adverse outcomes in chronic heart failure," said Dr. Paul R. Sohmer, President and CEO of BG-Medicine, Inc. "From this study, it appears that serial outpatient testing for galectin-3 may provide additional information that may facilitate decisions regarding the clinical management of stable heart failure patients." For this clinical research study, galectin-3 levels were measured in plasma samples that had been collected as part of the PROTECT study. 2 The study enrolled 151 stable heart failure (HF) patients, with an average age of 63 years, who were followed for a median of 10 months. The HF patients who participated in the study had galectin-3 blood levels drawn at four time points during scheduled outpatient physician visits. Galectin-3 levels independently predicted cardiovascular events even after adjustment for clinically relevant variables such as treatment arm allocation, NT-proBNP level, and kidney function. No effect on galectin-3 levels was observed in association with heart failure medications that provided symptom-related or mortality-related benefits. "Unplanned hospitalizations and unforeseen cardiovascular events are devastating to heart failure patients and their families, represent a significant challenge to health care providers and continue to be a leading cost burden on healthcare systems," stated Dr. Sohmer. "The results of this study from the Massachusetts General Hospital provide further evidence that galectin-3 testing may help to identify and facilitate triage of those heart failure patients who are at elevated risk of near-term adverse events and of deteriorating cardiac function."