Brain Natriuretic Peptide

Other names: BNP

This test measures the concentration of BNP in the blood; BNP helps to control the volume of blood and consequently regulates the amount of work done by the heart.

Why is the test used?

The BNP test is used to test for heart failure. The test will usually be recommended for patients who experience symptoms of heart failure, which include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Breathing difficulties

The test is also used in emergency situations to establish the extent of heart failure and the severity of a patient’s condition.

How is the test carried out?

The test is done using a blood sample, which is collected from a vein in the arm. The sample will usually be taken from a vein on the inside of the elbow, as these are usually more accessible and prominent than other veins. Once the sample has been collected, it will be bottled, sealed, labelled and sent away to the laboratory for analysis.

What do the test results mean?

Elevated levels of BNP indicate that a patient has heart failure; the levels determine the severity of their condition: the higher the levels, the more advanced the heart failure.

Levels of BNP may decrease if the patient is taking certain medications, including beta blockers, ACE inhibitors and diuretics. Patients with kidney disease may also have lower levels of BNP.

Specific Blood Tests

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