Appointments

800.659.7822

Request an Appointment

Questions

800.659.7822

Contact us with Questions

Expand Content

B-type Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) Blood Test

BNP is a substance secreted from the ventricles or lower chambers of the heart in response to changes in pressure that occur when heart failure develops and worsens. The level of BNP in the blood increases when heart failure symptoms worsen, and decreases when the heart failure condition is stable. The BNP level in a person with heart failure – even someone whose condition is stable – is higher than in a person with normal heart function.

Preparation

To test the BNP level, a small amount of blood is taken and placed in a machine that detects the level of BNP in your blood. The test takes about 15 minutes. The BNP level helps to determine if you have heart failure, rather than another condition that may cause similar symptoms. In addition, BNP help the physician make decisions about hospitalizations, aggressive treatments, and future prognosis.

Results

  • BNP levels below 100 pg/mL indicate no heart failure.
  • BNP levels of 100-300 pg/mL suggest heart failure is present.
  • BNP levels above 300 pg/mL indicate mild heart failure.
  • BNP levels above 600 pg/mL indicate moderate heart failure.
  • BNP levels above 900 pg/mL indicate severe heart failure.

BNP Research

In a recent study reported in the January issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology*, BNP accurately detected heart failure 83% of the time and reduced clinical indecision from 43% to 11%.

The study evaluated 321 patients presenting to the emergency department with acute dyspnea (shortness of breath). Patients had the BNP blood test and were also examined by physicians. Physicians were blinded to BNP levels and asked to give their probability of the patient having CHF and their final diagnosis. In addition, two physicians reviewing the patients symptoms, baseline characteristics, and clinical history were also asked to provide their level of clinical certainty in giving or ruling out a diagnosis of CHF.

The study showed that the BNP blood test provided an accurate diagnosis 81.1% of the time (sensitivity of 90%, and specificity of 74% at a cutoff of >100 pg/mL). In contrast, clinical judgment alone, yielded an accurate diagnosis 74% of the time. The BNP test also reduced uncertainty regarding the diagnosis from 43% to 11%. Average BNP levels also correlated well with New York Heart Association functional class levels and was able to distinguish heart failure symptoms from those of pulmonary causes of shortness of breath.

The authors conclude that the BNP test is a quick, inexpensive test which enhances current diagnostic assessment tools, and enables doctors to make the correct diagnosis of heart failure. Future research is evaluating the use of BNP to determine prognosis and decisions regarding treatment.

Resources:

*a new browser window will open with this link. The inclusion of links to other websites does not imply any endorsement of the material on the websites or any association with their operators

Reviewed: 09/11

This information is about testing and procedures and may include instructions specific to Cleveland Clinic. Please consult your physician for information pertaining to your testing.

Talk to a Nurse: Mon. - Fri., 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (ET)

Call a Heart & Vascular Nurse locally 216.445.9288 or toll-free 866.289.6911.

Schedule an Appointment

Toll-free 800.659.7822

This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

© Copyright 2015 Cleveland Clinic. All rights reserved.

HealthHub from Cleveland Clinic

Read the Latest from Our Experts About » cctopics » Heart & Vascular Health
How Walking During Long Runs Can Improve Your Fitness
5/22/15 11:30 a.m.
A recent study found that periodically walking during long runs doesn’t cost you any benefits to your heart health -- and may even save some wear and tear on your muscles....
by Bone, Muscle & Joint Team
How Nurses Keep You Safe During Your Hospital Stay
5/20/15 8:33 a.m.
During your hospitalization, your nurse is the primary member of your caregiver team who will monitor your safe...
Are You Eating Good Fats or Bad Fats? (Infographic)
5/19/15 8:00 a.m.
For years, we’ve heard that saturated fat is bad for our hearts and that unsaturated fat is good. But exp...
Can You Prevent Narrowing of Your Aortic Valve? (Video)
5/18/15 8:20 a.m.
We’ve suspected for some time that high cholesterol is one of the risk factors for developing aortic sten...
11 Conditions You Can Develop If You Have Psoriatic Arthritis
5/14/15 9:00 a.m.
If you have psoriatic arthritis, the inflammatory arthritis that occurs with the chronic skin condition of psor...