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Brain Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) Test

Results

A brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) test measures the amount of the BNP hormone in the blood. BNP values tend to increase with age and are higher in women than men.

The normal values listed here—called a reference range—are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab.

Brain natriuretic peptide1

Normal

0–99 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL) or 0–99 nanograms per liter (ng/L)

The amount of a related substance, called N-terminal pro brain-natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), may be measured instead of BNP. The results from the NT-proBNP test are different than those from the BNP test but provide similar information.

High values

A high value of BNP in the blood:

  • Means an increased amount of fluid or high pressure inside the heart.
  • May be used to help determine the severity of heart failure.
  • May mean a higher chance of death in people with heart failure.
  • May show early heart failure in people on kidney dialysis.

What Affects the Test

Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:

What To Think About

  • The BNP level may get lower if treatment for heart failure is working. But the BNP level may stay above the normal BNP level even when a heart failure treatment is working well. Your doctor will use your physical exam and other tests, along with your BNP level, to make sure your treatment is working.

Citations

  1. Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Other Works Consulted

  • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2013). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 6th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.

  • Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

  • Hunt SA, et al. (2009). 2009 focused update incorporated into the ACC/AHA 2005 guidelines for the diagnosis and management of heart failure in adults. Circulation, 119(14): e391–e479.

  • Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.

  • Wilson Tang WH, et al. (2007). National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry laboratory medicine practice guidelines: Clinical utilization of cardiac biomarker testing in heart failure. Circulation, 116(5): e99–e109.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 13, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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