Heart & Circulatory Health

Role of BNP (Blood Test) in Cardiovascular Diseases

Written by Dr. Isaac Gana and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

 
Image: Role of BNP (Blood Test) in Cardiovascular Diseases

What You Should Know About BNP

BNP (brain natriuretic peptide) is a type of protein that is produced in the heart muscles, initially as pro-BNP. It belongs to a class of hormones known as natriuretic peptides.

These groups of hormones are divided into four, namely ANP, BNP, CNP, and DNP. Each of this is produced in different areas of the circulatory system.

- ANP is produced by the cardiac muscle cells in the upper chambers (atria) of the heart.

- BNP is produced by the cardiac muscle cells in the lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart.

- CNP is produced in the endothelium of the blood vessels.

- DNP is found in the blood plasma but is thought to originate in the heart itself.

When Is It Advised to Check Your BNP?

1. When there is a suspicion of heart failure due to symptoms such as difficulty in breathing and swelling (edema) in the arms or legs, your doctor might advise you to check your BNP levels.

2. To know the severity of heart failure in patients diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

3. To check for kidney (renal) failure.

4. To check the effectiveness of treatment in a patient being treated for heart failure.

How Is BNP Checked?

BNP and NT-proBNP are measured using a simple blood test to help diagnose and monitor heart failure. BNP and NT-proBNP test results have different values.

  • Do not eat or drink anything except water for seven to 12 hours before having a BNP test.

  • Your doctor may ask you to stop the use of some medications prior to the test.

Result Interpretation

Normal BNP values are higher in women than in men. BNP values usually increase with age but, it may stay within the normal range unless heart failure is present.

The normal range varies from one lab to another, and your lab may have a different range for what is normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Your doctor will evaluate your results based on your age and gender. The normal values for BNP are less than 100 pg/mL or 100 ng/L.

From the reports, your doctor can tell you if:

  • There is an increased amount of fluid or high pressure inside the heart.
  • There is severe heart failure.
  • There is a higher chance of sudden cardiac death in patients diagnosed with heart failure.
  • There are early signs of heart failure in people with kidney failure or insufficiency.

Overall, the result will be determined to be positive or negative by your doctor based on the reason the test was ordered.

Other Factors That Affect BNP Levels

It decreases in:

- people who are obese.

- patients who are undergoing treatments with medications such as ACE inhibitors, diuretics such as Spironolactone, and beta-blockers.

It increases in:

- females, more commonly.

- lung diseases like emphysema.

- high blood pressure patients.

- overactive thyroid like in a case of hyperthyroidism.

- very high cortisol levels.

- patients with kidney failure.

- advanced liver disease or end-stage liver disease.

- certain rare tumors.

- brain hemorrhages.

- elderly people

For more information consult a cardiologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/cardiologist

Last reviewed at: 07.Sep.2018

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