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Atrial Natriuretic Peptide Blood Test

Last updated May 20, 2019

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

The Atrial Natriuretic Peptide Blood Test helps determine the levels of ANP in blood.

What are other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • Atrial Natriuretic Factor Blood Test
  • Atrial Natriuretic Peptide Levels Blood Test
  • Atrial Natriuretic Protein Blood Test

What is the Atrial Natriuretic Peptide Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • Atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) is a hormone that reduces blood volume and pressure. It is produced by the walls of the heart in response to an increase in blood volume and pressure
  • The heart contains 4 chambers - the atria (left and right) and the ventricles (left and right). When the level of blood entering the heart increases, the heart muscle cells stretch. This stimulates the release of ANP by the atria and a similar hormone, BNP (brain natriuretic peptide) by the ventricles
  • ANP is effectively a “mayday” hormone. Cells in the heart walls secrete ANP to tell the rest of the body that the heart is experiencing a rising influx of blood. ANP then travels through the blood stream to reach target organs to exert its effects
  • ANP counteracts renin (made by the kidneys), aldosterone (made by the adrenal gland), and angiotensin II, 3 hormones that increase blood pressure. ANP also causes blood vessels to widen. These effects combine to reduce blood volume and pressure, which then alleviates stresses on the walls of the heart
  • ANP levels rise when the walls of the heart stretch. This can occur normally, such as when exercising, or in pathologic conditions, such as during a heart failure
  • The Atrial Natriuretic Peptide Blood Test helps determine the levels of ANP in blood. It is used to detect recent heart failure. Heart failure results when blood backs up due to the heart’s inability to pump it properly

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Atrial Natriuretic Peptide Blood Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing the Atrial Natriuretic Peptide Blood Test:

  • Monitoring the effects of therapy for heart failure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swollen extremities, particularly feet and ankles
  • Heart abnormalities
  • Loss of appetite
  • Frequent urination
  • Swollen veins
  • Enlarged liver
  • Enlarged spleen

How is the Specimen Collected for the Atrial Natriuretic Peptide Blood Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Atrial Natriuretic Peptide Blood Test:

Sample required: Blood

Process of obtaining blood sample in adults:

  • A band is wrapped around the arm, 3-4 inches above the collection site (superficial vein that lies within the elbow pit)
  • The site is cleaned with 70% alcohol in an outward spiral, away from the zone of needle insertion
  • The needle cap is removed and is held in line with the vein, pulling the skin tight
  • With a small and quick thrust, the vein is penetrated using the needle
  • The required amount of blood sample is collected by pulling the plunger of the syringe out slowly
  • The wrap band is removed, gauze is placed on the collection site, and the needle is removed
  • The blood is immediately transferred into the blood container, which has the appropriate preservative/clot activator/anti-coagulant
  • The syringe and the needle are disposed into the appropriate “sharp container” for safe and hygienic disposal

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.

What is the Significance of the Atrial Natriuretic Peptide Blood Test Result?

Following is the significance of the Atrial Natriuretic Peptide Blood Test:

  • A high test value may indicate:
    • Acute congestive heart failure
    • High blood pressure
    • Coronary artery disease
    • Diabetes
    • Paroxysmal atrial tachycardia
    • Early cardiovascular disease
    • Subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • A low test value may indicate chronic congestive heart failure

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • Heart disease, along with diabetes, is the leading cause of death and disability in the United States

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider of the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

The following DoveMed website links are useful resources for additional information:




Please visit our Laboratory Procedures Center for more physician-approved health information:


References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Jan. 26, 2016
Last updated: May 20, 2019