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Brain Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) Test

Results continued...

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:

  • Having lung disease, such as emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Having kidney disease, kidney dialysis, or a heart attack.
  • Age. BNP values normally increase with age but may stay within a normal range unless heart failure is present.

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.

  • 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.

  • Yancy CW, et al. (2013). 2013 ACCF/AHA Guideline for the management of heart failure: A report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 62(16): e147–e239.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
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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