Assessment of serum cotinine in patients with chronic heart failure: Self-reported versus objective smoking behaviour

Nicole Ebner, Gabor Földes, Tibor Szabo, Matthias Tacke, Susann Fülster, Anja Sandek, Wolfram Doehner, Stefan D. Anker, Stephan Von Haehling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Smoking is a major risk factor in the development of coronary artery disease and thus chronic heart failure (HF). The value of self-reported smoking behaviour has not been validated in patients with HF. We sought to assess serum cotinine levels, a marker of recent tobacco exposure, in a cohort of clinically stable patients with chronic HF. Methods and results: We analysed serum cotinine values in 75 patients with chronic HF [mean age ± SD 64 ± 16 years, 85 % male, left ventricular ejection fraction 30 ± 1 %, New York Heart Association class (I/II vs. III/IV) 73 %/27 %, haemoglobin (Hb) 13.4 ± 1.5 g/dL, serum creatinine 1.21 ± 0.51 mg/dL] and 30 control subjects of similar age (63 ± 11 years, 43 % male, Hb 14.1 ± 1.5 g/dL, creatinine 1.12 ± 0.92 mg/dL) using a chemiluminescence immunoassay. Patients were interviewed about their smoking habits, and routine laboratory parameters were analysed. In patients with HF, cotinine values ranged from undetectable to 829 μg/L (mean 110 ± 208 μg/L). Similar findings were evident in healthy subjects with cotinine ranging from undetectable to 860 μg/L (mean 105 ± 208 μg/L). Serum cotinine levels correlated with leukocyte count and haemoglobin concentration (both p <0.05). Self-reported smoking behaviour did not correspond to serum cotinine level in serum in 16.9 % of the patients with chronic HF. No such finding was evident in control subjects. Conclusions: Serum cotinine measurement provides an easily applicable means to analyse smoking behaviour in patients with chronic HF. Its assessment may permit analysis of smoking deception in daily clinical routine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-101
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Research in Cardiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Biomarker
  • Cotinine
  • Heart failure
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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