Heart failure can be confused with other conditions, and it may co-exist with them. BNP and NT-proBNP levels can help your doctor distinguish between heart failure and other problems, such as lung disease.
A BNP or NT-proBNP test may be ordered under these circumstances:
- If a person has symptoms that could be due to heart failure.
- If a person is in crisis and/or has symptoms that could be due to heart failure and doctors need to quickly determine if a person is suffering from heart failure or some other medical problem.
- To follow up on treatment effectiveness in cases of heart failure
Higher-than-normal results suggest that a person has some degree of heart failure, and the level of BNP or NT-proBNP in the blood is related to its severity. Higher levels of BNP or NT-proBNP are often associated with a worse prognosis for the person.
Normal results indicate that the person's symptoms are likely due to something other than heart failure.
Although BNP is usually used to recognize heart failure, an increased level in people with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) indicates an increased risk of recurrent events. Thus, a doctor may use BNP to evaluate risk of a future cardiac event in someone with ACS.