My Mother’s Rising BNP

My mother’s BNP is up to 301. Last year it was 201. She has had congestive heart failure for some time now so I’m not surprised that her cardiologist regularly checks her BNP. I am concerned that it is going up. That means her medication isn’t working the way it should or that her congestive heart failure is worsening.

The BNP (B-type natriutetic peptide) assists doctors in making a diagnosis of CHF in the context of shortness of breath. (See my January 4th post). It can also track the responsiveness of CHF to treatment. That’s why my mother gets tested.

I couldn’t remember the normal values for this test so I checked out the patient library at Quest Labs. Here is the breakdown:

Brain natriuretic peptide
Normal: 0–99 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL) or 0-99 nanograms per liter (ng/L) SI units. No heart failure is present.
Abnormal: 100–300 pg/mL or 100-300 ng/L (SI units) suggests heart failure may be present.
300 pg/mL or 300 ng/L (SI units) or higher is considered mild heart failure.
600 pg/mL or 600 ng/L (SI units) or higher is considered moderate heart failure.
900 pg/mL or 900 ng/L (SI units) or higher is considered severe heart failure.

So my mother’s 301 reflects mild heart failure. As much as she won’t like it, she is going to need a change in her medication. Probably her doctor will increase her diuretic in order to pull fluid out of her system and relieve the burden on her heart. If it works, her BNP should go down the next time she is tested. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

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