This study was conducted to test the diagnostic performance of NT-proBNP for discrimination of acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF) among breathless patients presenting in an Asian compared with a Western centre.Patients with breathlessness were prospectively and contemporaneously recruited in Emergency Departments in Singapore and New Zealand (NZ). The diagnosis of ADHF was adjudicated by two clinician specialists. A total of 606 patients were recruited in Singapore and 500 in NZ. The discriminative power of NT-proBNP for ADHF was superior in Singapore compared with NZ [area under the curve (AUC) 0.926 vs. 0.866; P = 0.012] both overall and among selected subgroups stratified according to age, renal function, body mass index, and presence or absence of AF or diabetes. Previously established cut-off point values of plasma NT-proBNP yielded comparable sensitivity and negative predictive values, but superior specificity and accuracy in Singapore compared with NZ. The difference in test performance was driven by the younger age (median age 56 years vs. 73 years; P < 0.001), associated with better renal function (estimated glomerular filtration rate 89 vs. 62 mL/min/1.73 m2 ; P < 0.001), and lower prevalence of AF (9.7% vs. 25.7%; P < 0.001) in acutely breathless patients in Singapore.Considering emerging evidence of a lower average age of presentation with ADHF over most of Asia compared with Western countries, NT-proBNP is likely to be more accurate when applied in Asian centres than in the West.