UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Pediatrics

Title: Is there utility in measuring BNP in pediatric patients in the emergency room?

Keywords: Congestive heart failure, trouble breathing, basic natriuretic peptide (PubMed Search)

Posted: 2/19/2021 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 7/22/2024)
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In children with known congenital heart disease, BNP measurements are higher in those patients with heart failure compared to those without heart failure.

The utility of BNP in differentiating a cardiac from pulmonary pathology in patients with respiratory distress has been studied in pediatrics. In one study involving 49 infants with respiratory distress, the patients with a final diagnosis of heart failure had a higher mean BNP concentration than those patients with other causes.  Also, there is a suggestion that the relative change in NT proBNP levels may be useful in patients with underlying pulmonary hypertension.  However, currently there is not enough literature to support the routine use of BNP or NT proBNP in acute management.

Bottom line: BNP can be useful in your patient with congenital heart disease who is decompensating and may be used in a patient where there is difficulty in differentiating a primary respiratory from cardiac etiology.


Davis GK, Bamforth F, Sarpal A, et al. B-type natriuretic peptide in pediatrics. Clin Biochem. 2006 Jun;39(6):600-5.

Nir A, Lindinger A, Rauh M, et al. NT-pro-B-type natriuretic peptide in infants and children: reference values based on combined data from four studies. Pediatr Cardiol. 2009 Jan;30(1):3-8.

Ten Kate CA, Tibboel D, Kraemer US. B-type natriuretic peptide as a parameter for pulmonary hypertension in children. A systematic review. Eur J Pediatr. 2015 Oct;174(10):1267-75.