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Introduction: Patients diagnosed with heart failure in primary care have a better prognosis than those diagnosed in hospital. However, most cases are missed in the community. Recent attention has focussed on the potential of early detection through screening. Natriuretic peptides (NPs) are tested by GPs and used to rule out heart failure in patients presenting with symptoms. Evidence is now emerging that they may also have a role in screening but their accuracy in this context and the associated optimal thresholds, have not been established. The impact that NP screening would have on patients and health care systems also remains unclear. Methods: : We aim to undertake a systematic search of the following sources: Ovid Medline, Embase, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. Screening, data extraction and critical appraisal will be carried out independently and in duplicate by two reviewers. We will include studies based in the community with >100 participants that recruited a screened population. We will not add a study design filter and there will be no language restriction. The primary outcome will be the sensitivity and the specificity of NP screening and optimal thresholds for screening will be explored. Outcomes of interest for the impact analysis will include mortality, hospital admissions and cost effectiveness. This protocol has been developed in accordance with guidelines from the preferred reporting items for systematic review and meta-analysis protocols (PRISMA-P). Discussion: This systematic review will identify how accurately NP screen for heart failure in the community and explore where NP screening thresholds should be set. It also aims to summarise the clinical impact of this strategy. Together, these results should inform future interventions that may provide an alternative pathway to facilitate improved detection of heart failure in the community. Registration: PROSPERO CRD42018087498 ; registered on 11 May 2018.

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