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B-Type Natriuretic Peptide (BNP)

Test code(s) 37386

BNP is used to diagnose or monitor congestive heart failure (CHF). It is a marker of cardiac dysfunction that correlates with the severity of symptomatic and asymptomatic left ventricular hypertrophy and CHF (including the New York Heart Association classification). BNP can be used to differentiate heart failure from pulmonary dyspnea. If the patient’s values are within the reference interval, then the patient’s symptoms are probably not due to heart failure. Conversely, when the patient’s values exceed the reference interval, there is an increased probability that the patient is in heart failure, and further cardiac assessment is warranted. BNP serves as a guide for management and prognosis. Successful therapy for heart failure typically results in a decrease in BNP concentrations.1,2

No patient preparation is required.

The blood must be collected in a plastic lavender-top tube (EDTA). BNP is not stable in serum. The specimen should be centrifuged and the plasma separated into a plastic tube within one hour after collection. Freeze separated plasma immediately. If testing is to be performed stat, put specimen on a cold pack or ice.

Heterophile antibodies (antibodies to animal immunoglobulins) present in the patient’s blood could cause anomalous results.3

No. There is a wide variation in BNP results when different methodologies are used. When monitoring patients, the same method should be used consistently.



  1.  Januzzi JL Jr. The role of natriuretic peptide testing in guiding chronic heart failure management: review of available data and recommendations for use. Arch Cardiovasc Dis. 2012;105:40-50.
  2. Troughton R, Michael Felker G, Januzzi JL Jr. Natriuretic peptide-guided heart failure management [published online ahead of print November 11, 2013]. Eur Heart J. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/eht463.
  3. Siemens ADVIA Centaur® BNP directional insert; 2003.


This FAQ is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. A clinician’s test selection and interpretation, diagnosis, and patient management decisions should be based on his/her education, clinical expertise, and assessment of the patient.


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