BNP Test FAQ
What is a BNP test?
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BNP Blood Test - More Information
The BNP test, also known as a BNP blood test, BNP lab test, NT-proB-type natriuretic peptide test, B-type natriuretic peptide test, and brain natriuretic peptide test, measures the BNP blood level.
BNP blood levels have become useful to track in people with congestive heart failure (CHF). Although BNP is short for brain natriuretic peptide, its only relation to the brain is that it was first identified from purified pig brain. Instead, BNP is a peptide (a molecule made of multiple amino acids) produced by special cells in the heart muscle. When the heart muscle is stretched, BNP is released into the blood.
BNP is a signal that the heart uses to interact with the blood vessels and the rest of the body. Thinking of the heart as a pump, the more the heart muscle is stretched, the harder it has to work to pump the blood to the rest of the body. To make its job easier, the heart releases BNP which, among other roles, relaxes the blood vessels to make it easier for the blood to flow through them.
One common situation in which BNP blood levels are high due to overstretched heart muscles is a condition called congestive heart failure (CHF). In CHF, the heart cannot pump adequately enough to move the blood through the body, resulting in a backup of blood and fluid in the lungs and other parts of the body like the legs. To try and counteract the effects of CHF, B-type natriuretic peptide also works to remove fluid from the body through the kidneys and decrease the overall amount of blood in the body.
The BNP blood test plays an important role in detecting early heart failure as well as in tracking heart failure management in people with known CHF. Along with the CRP test and homocysteine test, BNP lab testing is a useful way to get a snapshot of one's overall heart health.
To get a BNP test near you, order online and get your blood drawn at the Quest Diagnostics lab you selected. As soon as the BNP lab report is available, it will be available for electronic download. As can be seen on the BNP sample lab results above, the BNP blood level concentration is reported as a number in pg/mL and can be compared against the BNP reference range provided by the lab.
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