Brain natriuretic peptide: what the nurse needs to know

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Brain natriuretic peptide: what the nurse needs to know

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Rationale and key points

Brain natriuretic peptide is a chemical secreted when the heart is under strain. It is sampled by a blood test. This article informs nurses about how brain natriuretic peptide can be used as a diagnostic and prognostic marker for patients with cardiac conditions.

A brain natriuretic peptide level within the normal range in a patient who is not receiving treatment, almost certainly rules out a significant cardiac condition.

An elevated brain natriuretic peptide level suggests an active cardiac condition and further investigations are indicated, usually an electrocardiogram and echocardiogram.

A highly elevated brain natriuretic peptide level is a marker for a more severe prognosis.

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