The role of BNP testing in heart failure

Jenny Doust*, Richard Lehman, Paul Glasziou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels are simple and objective measures of cardiac function. These measurements can be used to diagnose heart failure, including diastolic dysfunction, and using them has been shown to save money in the emergency department setting. The high negative predictive value of BNP tests is particularly helpful for ruling out heart failure. Treatment with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin-II receptor blockers, spironolactone, and diuretics reduces BNP levels, suggesting that BNP testing may have a role in monitoring patients with heart failure. However, patients with treated chronic stable heart failure may have levels in the normal range (i.e., BNP less than 100 pg per mL and N-terminal proBNP less than 125 pg per mL in patients younger than 75 years). Increases in BNP levels may be caused by intrinsic cardiac dysfunction or may be secondary to other causes such as pulmonary or renal diseases (e.g., chronic hypoxia). BNP tests are correlated with other measures of cardiac status such as New York Heart Association classification. BNP level is a strong predictor of risk of death and cardiovascular events in patients previously diagnosed with heart failure or cardiac dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1893-1898
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Family Physician
Volume74
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes

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