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A brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) test measures the amount of the BNP hormone in your blood. BNP is made by your heart and shows how well your heart is working. Normally, only a low amount of BNP is found in your blood. But if your heart has to work harder than usual over a long period of time, such as from heart failure, the heart releases more BNP, increasing the blood level of BNP. The BNP level may drop when treatment for heart failure is working.
The brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) test is used to:
You may be asked to not eat or drink anything except water for 8 to 12 hours before having a BNP test.
Your doctor may tell you to stop taking certain heart medicines before this test. Follow your doctor's instructions exactly.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
The health professional drawing your blood will:
You may feel nothing at all from the needle puncture, or you may feel a brief sting or pinch as the needle goes through the skin. Some people feel a stinging pain while the needle is in the vein. But many people do not feel any pain (or have only minor discomfort) once the needle is positioned in the vein. The amount of pain you feel depends on the skill of the health professional drawing the blood, the condition of your veins, and your sensitivity to pain.
There is very little risk of complications from having blood drawn from a vein.
A brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) test measures the amount of the BNP hormone in the blood.
Normal BNP values are higher in women than in men. BNP values normally increase with age but may stay within a normal range unless heart failure is present.
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.
Your doctor will evaluate your results based on your age and gender. In general, normal values for BNP are less than 100 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL) or less than 100 nanograms per liter (ng/L).footnote 1
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. Normal values for NT-proBNP are less than 400 pg/mL or less than 400 ng/L.footnote 1
A high value of BNP in the blood:
Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
CitationsFischbach F, Dunning MB III (2015). A Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 9th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health.Other Works ConsultedChernecky CC, Berger BJ (2013). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 6th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.Fischbach F, Dunning MB III (2015). A Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 9th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health.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.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerStephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
Current as ofOctober 5, 2017
Current as of: October 5, 2017
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
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