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B-type Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) Blood Test

NT-B-type Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) blood test

B-type natiuretic peptide (BNP) is a hormone produced by your heart. It is released in response to changes in pressure inside the heart. These changes can be related to heart failure. In general, the level of BNP goes up when heart failure develops or gets worse, and it goes down when the condition is stable. In most cases, BNP levels are higher in patients with heart failure than people who have normal heart function.

You may hear your healthcare team refer to BNP as NT-proBNP. Levels of both BNP and NT-proBNP can be measured to help diagnose and monitor patients with heart failure. It is important to not compare BNP with NT-proBNP, as there can be a 5-to-10-time difference between test results. At Cleveland Clinic, doctors rely mostly on NT-proBNP testing to monitor patients with heart failure.

How is my level of BNP/NT-proBNP measured?

A simple blood test is used to measure the amount of BNP/NT-proBNP in your blood. You do not need to fast or do anything to prepare for the test.

What do the results mean?

The results help your doctor determine if you have heart failure. If you have heart failure, the test helps your doctor see if the condition is getting worse. It is important to note that this test is only one method your doctor uses to monitor your condition. Based on your results, your doctor can choose the best treatment plan for you.

A normal level of NT-proBNP, based on Cleveland Clinic’s Reference Range is:

  • Less than 125 pg/mL for patients aged 0-74 years
  • Less than 450 pg/mL for patients aged 75-99 years

If you have heart failure, the following NT-proBNP levels could mean your heart function is unstable:

  • Higher than 450 pg/mL for patients under age 50
  • Higher than 900 pg.mL for patients age 50 and older

Your doctor can give you more specific information about your test results. Depending on your personal health history, your normal range may differ from other patients with different backgrounds.

More information about BNP/NT-proBNP is available in the references below.

  • Yancy, CW, Jessup M, Bozkurt B, et al. 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.  Circulation. 2013 Jun 5 (epub ahead of print).
  • Januzzi JL, van Kimmenade R, Lainchbury J, et al. NT-proBNP Testing for Diagnosis and Short-Term Prognosis in Acute Destabilized Heart Failure: An International Pooled Analysis of 1256 Patients: The International Collaborative of NT-proBNP Study. Eur Heart J. 2006;27:330 –337.

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.

Reviewed: 10/16

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