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Also known as

Brain Natriuretic Peptide, , Natriuretic Peptides

This test is ordered by the doctor to aid in detecting, diagnosing, and sometimes evaluating the severity of heart diseases, including congestive heart failure.
The test is ordered by the doctor when you exhibit symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath, swollen ankles, excessive fluids in the abdomen and legs after a heart attack or when the patient is undergoing treatment for heart disease
This is a blood test. Blood is drawn from the vein in the elbow using a syringe.
There is no special preparation needed for the test.
The B-type natriuretic peptide, also known as BNP, and N-terminal pro-b-type natriuretic peptide, also known as NTproBNP, are peptides (proteins which are smaller in size) which either function as hormones or are part of a peptide that once had some hormones in its composition. These peptides are produced in the body by the heart in small quantities during normal functioning. They are released in higher quantities by the heart when it senses that it needs to work harder. This chain of action supports volume expansion as well fluid retention in the vein and the arteries. Afterward, when the heart is in a resting condition, the heart muscle is stretched and has to work harder to pump the blood around the body. The tests for BNP and Nt-proBNP are used to measure the levels of these peptides in the blood and evaluate heart failure. The two tests are used for different purposes and are not interchangeable. In addition, they must not be used together. The doctor must order either one of the tests but not both. Moreover, the nuances of the term heart failure must be learned. The term heart failure does not imply that the heart fails to supply blood around the body; it simply implies that the heart has difficulty in supplying it. Healthcare practitioners have several approaches towards the treatment of heart failure. The approach chosen by your doctor is contingent on the severity of the disease. BNP is produced primarily by the cells present in the left ventricle of the heart. Initially, it was called brain natriuretic peptide as it was found in the brain tissue. The left ventricle of the heart functions as the main blood-pumping chamber, and it transports oxygenated blood from the lungs to the rest of the organs in the body. The peptides found in the left ventricle are also associated with blood pressure and volume and the work that the heart puts in to supply the blood to the rest of the body. There are small amounts of the precursor protein, also known as pro-BNP, produced by the heart continuously. The peptide is then split by an enzyme called CORIN in order to release the active hormone BNP and NT-proBNP, an inactive fragment into the blood. In the event that the heart is experiencing heart failure – when the left ventricle of the heart is having a hard time pumping oxygenated blood around the body in ample amounts – the concentration of these peptides, BNP and NT-proBNP, rise by large margins. This is a common occurrence with diseases and conditions which afflict the circulatory system and the heart. The high levels of circulating BNP and NT-proBNP indicate the diminished capacity of the left ventricle to supply oxygenated blood around the body.
The test for BNP and NT-proBNP is used by doctors to identify, diagnose, and sometimes assess the seriousness of heart failure. The tests can be used with cardiac biomarker tests in order to identify damage and stress in the heart. These can be supplemented with lung function tests to identify the reason behind shortness of breath if it is a symptom. Chest x-rays and echocardiography can also be ordered as well as a stress test which involves the use of a treadmill. While the BNP and NT-proBNP are used to identify heart failure, if the results indicate higher levels in people who have had a heart attack, there may be a higher risk of heart disease – some doctors order the test in order to assess the likelihood of this situation.
The doctor orders the test when the patient exhibits signs related to heart failure like:
  1. Shortness in breath or difficulty in breathing
  2. Fatigue
  3. Swelling in some parts of the body like feet, ankles, legs, and abdomen
Testing may also be ordered by the doctor when a patient is in the hospital bed or emergency room when a person has symptoms related to heart failure, and the doctor needs to identify the root cause. They may also be done over a period of time when the patient is being treated for heart failure in order to evaluate the effects of therapy.
If the levels of the peptides are higher than normal, they indicate that the patient has some degree of heart failure. Higher levels of BNP and NT-proBNP are used as starting points for aggressive therapy to treat heart failure. Some people who have chronic heart failure may always have elevated markers, and these results can’t be used to monitor the response of therapy. If the results are normal, then the signs and symptoms may be due to some other condition.
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