Advanced Heart Risk (BNP)
Your blood sample will be analysed to examine your levels of BNP (Brain Natriuretic Peptide), which is a hormone secreted by the heart in response to stress.
Heart failure symptoms usually develop quickly but the condition can also develop over a period of time. It is unusual to find a single cause of heart failure. Often it’s a combination of multiple problems that cause the heart stress. These problems range from high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation), atherosclerosis or damage to the heart or valves in general. The NHS state that heart failure can occur at any age, although it is more common in older people.
If your BNP level is standard, a diagnosis of heart failure is unlikely. Conversely, high levels will warrant further specialist investigation and echocardiogram.
Dr Cullimore says “Heart failure usually occurs because the heart muscle is too weak to pump blood around your body at the right pressure. Contrary to popular belief, heart failure does not mean that your heart has stopped working altogether. Actually, it means it’s not working effectively. Symptoms of heart failure can include shortness of breath, weight gain, fatigue, a rapid heart rate, dizziness, a wheezy cough and swollen ankles. Heart failure isn’t a condition that can be cured. Instead it involves working out a combination of lifestyle changes and medication that are right for you to help promote healthy heart function. Recognition and treatment of heart failure, with drugs such as ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers, can improve symptoms and may protect against progression of the condition, making early diagnosis all the more important.”
1 British Heart Foundation https://www.bhf.org.uk/for-professionals/press-centre/facts-and-figures
All our tests have been specially designed to be convenient and non-invasive. Once you’ve booked your appointment, full preparation instructions will be provided in your confirmation email or letter. You can continue to eat and drink normally before your appointment, and you’ll also remain fully clothed throughout.