B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) is a hormone produced by the heart in response to changes in blood volume and pressure. BNP is released primarily by the ventricles of the heart and helps to regulate blood pressure and fluid balance in the body.
In medicine, BNP levels are often measured in blood tests to help diagnose and monitor heart failure. When the heart is not functioning properly, such as in heart failure, the ventricles of the heart may release more BNP in an attempt to maintain blood pressure and fluid balance.
Elevated levels of BNP in the blood can indicate the presence of heart failure or other cardiovascular conditions, such as pulmonary hypertension or myocardial infarction. BNP levels can also be used to monitor the severity of heart failure and the effectiveness of treatment.
BNP testing is typically done in conjunction with other diagnostic tests, such as electrocardiograms (ECGs), chest X-rays, and echocardiograms, to provide a more comprehensive picture of heart function.
In addition to its diagnostic and monitoring uses, BNP has also been investigated as a potential treatment for heart failure. Synthetic versions of BNP, such as nesiritide, have been used to treat acute heart failure in some patients.
Overall, BNP is an important hormone in the regulation of cardiovascular function, and BNP testing is a valuable tool in the diagnosis and management of heart failure and other cardiovascular conditions.