AIMS The increasing importance of cardiac disease has generated an interest in improved screening strategies regarding preclinical cardiac abnormalities and employing measurement of circulating biomarkers. This review focuses on the utility of the B-type natriuretic peptides (NP) and the cardiac troponins (cTns) for this purpose. RESULTS Both the NPs and the cTns are closely related to cardiac structural and functional abnormalities that may progress to symptomatic heart disease, e.g., left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy, LV systolic and diastolic dysfunction. Both biomarkers provide incremental information to each other. However, biomarker results may be confounded by several non-cardiac conditions, and decision thresholds and recommendations on further clinical work-up are as yet not specified. Furthermore, cost issues will probably preclude widespread biomarker screening in general populations. CONCLUSIONS Measurement of the NPs or cTns is an attractive option for screening for cardiac abnormalities. This may be particularly effective in patients at higher risk for developing overt heart disease. Nevertheless, appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic responses to biomarker results need to be defined before routine screening can be recommended in the community setting.