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Brain Natriuretic Peptide – Cardiology Questions

What is the definition of brain natriuretic peptide? What do different levels of brain natriuretic peptide indicate? This is essentially a compound whose composition helps the heart compensate and cope when its muscles are under significant stress. A related test helps measure the extent of heart failure. To understand more about brain natriuretic peptide, verified medical Experts online have provided useful insights. Read below a few questions answered by Experts for people dealing with heart failure.

What is the definition of brain natriuretic peptide or BNP?

Brain natriuretic peptide or BNP is a substance secreted from the ventricles or lower chambers of the heart as a response to changes in pressure resulting from the development of heart failure or at various stages of heart failure. They function to assist the kidney in eliminating excess fluid. Among these compounds, the most well-known are the brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) and NT pro-BNP. These ‘peptides’ are present in the blood and their level can be measured. When a person experiences significant breathing problems and the peptide levels are low, the likelihood of heart failure is also low. Contrarily, if symptoms worsen, the levels of these compounds increase. Therefore, elevated BNP levels is suggestive of heart failure and higher levels of BNP, heart failure is more likely and this can be a serious prognosis. Routine monitoring of BNP levels would be helpful in determining the patients’ response to any prescribed heart medications.

In a brain natriuretic peptide test, what do the different levels indicate?

Type B or B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) as mentioned above is essentially a chemical compound that is secreted by the heart as a response to extreme or over-stretching of the heart muscles. Usually, if there are chances of congestive cardiac failure, especially in cases of acute congestive failure, tests for BNP is carried out to determine the severity and prognosis of the failure. This is essentially a blood test to assess the degree of congestive heart failure (CHF). If high levels of BNP is discovered through the tests, the prognosis is not good. BNP is also high in people with chronic congestive cardiac failure.

The prognosis based on BNP levels are as follows:

  • BNP levels below 100 pg/ml indicates no heart failure.
  • BNP levels of 100-300pg/ml suggests presence of heart failure.
  • BNP levels above 300 pg/ml indicates mild heart failure.
  • BNP levels above 600 pg/ml indicates moderate heart failure.
  • BNP levels above 900 pg/ml indicates severe heart failure.

How are tests results of BNP at 526 interpreted on a 74-year-old?

Case Details: The person has previously had open heart surgery.

Based on the test results in this case; 526, it is an indication of mild to moderate heart failure status. Typically, the level of BNP in the blood raises when heart failure is present or symptoms worsen. Similarly, the BNP level decreases when the heart is improving or the failure has reduced. In this scenario, heart failure is related to the heart being unable to pump sufficient blood that the body requires. This could be a result of fluid collection in the lungs (pulmonary edema) and in the legs (peripheral edema) leading to swelling.

What is NT pro-BNP and what does it measure?

NT-pro-BNP essentially expands as N-terminal prohormone of brain natriuretic peptide. It is a test carried out for screening, diagnosis of acute congestive heart failure (CHF). As the name suggests, it is carried out when a person experiences symptoms that are indicative of heart failure. Usually, results which are higher than normal implies that the person is suffering from some degree or level of heart failure. The level of BNP or NT-pro-BNP in the blood demonstrates or provides an indication of the severity of the failure. Typically, NT-pro-BNP greater than 150pg/ml suggests existence of congestive heart failure.

Can BNP be used to distinguish between diastolic heart failure from cardiac or non-cardiac origin?

One of the best ways to differentiate whether diastolic heart failure is occurring due to a cardiac origin or from a non-cardiac origin is by measuring the level of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP). This can be evaluated through the examination of the blood. Based on the BNP results other necessary cardiac or non-cardiac investigations can be prescribed to be carried out. If the BNP is elevated and the systolic ejection fraction is normal, it confirms diastolic dysfunction. Presence of CHF would be accompanied with dyspnea on rest, exertion, edema in legs, excessive fatigue, and so on. At this point it would be good to consult the physician.

The above information has provided many insights about brain natriuretic peptide, the consequences of its levels and indications of the extent of cardiac problems. With the help of these levels, it would be possible to diagnose the condition properly and treat it in a timely fashion. This is where Experts online can be of help to provide useful information or customized answers and opinions to specific conditions. Ask Experts your particular question related to brain natriuretic peptide and get professional medical opinions quickly and economically from the comfort of your home. 

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