Brain natriuretic peptide (BNP)

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-03-24 (EDT)

See Also Lab Tests

BNP, or Brain natriuretic peptide is a test used to help detect, diagnose, and evaluate the severity of congestive heart failure (CHF). This test is typically ordered when a patient presents with symptoms of heart failure, such as shortness of breath and fatigue, or when being treated for CHF.[1], [2]


  • This test measures the concentration of B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) or N-terminal pro b-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) in the blood in order to detect and evaluate heart failure.
  • BNP is produced primarily by the left ventricle of the heart and is associated with blood volume and pressure, and with the work that the heart must do in pumping blood throughout the body.
  • An increase in concentrations of BNP and NT-proBNP indicates that the heart is working harder and having more trouble in meeting the body's demands.
  • Testing is often indicate if a person with known heart disease has swelling in the legs or shortness of breath.

Patient Preparation

No preparation is required.

  • Factors which can cause increased levels:
  • age, kidney disease, acute coronary syndrome (ACS)
  • Drugs: ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, diuretics

Clinical Implications

High levels indicate:

Associated Tests


  1. Pagana Kathleen D, Pagana Timothy J (2006) Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, Mosby.
  2. Weatherby Dicken, Ferguson Scott (2002) Blood Chemistry and CBC Analysis: Clinical Laboratory Testing from a Functional Perspective, Bear Mountain.