The CNP blood test is a measurement of the C-type of natriuretic peptide that is within the plasma of the blood. It’s considered to be a key component of the vascular tone that the body is able to develop. It may also contribute to electrolyte balancing, so the test is ordered to determine liver health, hydration levels, and sometimes even colon health.
Research has indicated that higher levels of CNP in the blood are key indicators that cirrhosis has occurred or that kidney failure may be happening or about to happen.
When Is This Test Ordered?
If liver cirrhosis is suspected from previous blood tests, the CNP blood test can provide an indication if the kidneys have also been affected by current health conditions. Medical providers order this test as a proactive measurement of kidney function. Most people, including those with cirrhosis, will have a test result that is considered to be normal.
It may also be ordered if the reverse is known. If kidney failure has been diagnosed, the CNP blood test can be ordered to determine if liver cirrhosis is also occurring.
The CNP blood test is often ordered in conjunction with a CNP urine test. This is because CNP levels are higher in the urine when impaired kidney functions are present compared to people who have normal functioning and healthy controls in place.
What Do the CNP Blood Test Results Mean?
CNP plays a vital role in the development of the bones, the reproduction system, and even nerve growth. It also is thought to play a role in cardiac and kidney functions. It has also been associated with healthy pancreatic activity. The presence of it isn’t a bad thing. It has anti-inflammatory capabilities and is believed to help the body recover from injuries.
Discovered in 1990, there are still testing methods being developed to fully understand what test results mean. What research has discovered currently is that there is a direct connection between the health of the liver and the presence of CNP. That’s because CNP levels within the blood are generally lower than the rest of the general population when liver cirrhosis is occurring. This is even true for when kidney functions have been impaired in some way. Normal levels of CNP average 0.4 pg/ml, while those who wind up testing positive for liver cirrhosis have an average of 0.2 pg/ml.
Higher than normal CNP levels may indicate the presence of an infection somewhere within the cardiovascular or digestive system.
How Accurate Are the Results?
If the CNP blood test has been properly processed within a certain amount of time, then the levels can be a good indicator that liver cirrhosis has occurred or that the organ is being damaged in some way. This can be confirmed by the presence of high levels of CNP in the urine as the kidneys react to the liver damage.
The only problem that some medical providers have with the CNP blood test is that the measurements only remain stable for about 2 hours after the blood draw occurs. This means any testing that occurs outside of this timing may be inaccurate.
Blood pressure levels may also affect the accuracy of CNP levels. Because this is an anti-inflammatory substance produced by the body, high blood pressure may artificially increase numbers and show the presence of a possible infection when none actually exists.
What Happens if Test Results Are Low?
A medical provider will follow-up with patients regarding abnormal tests to determine the overall state of their health. This might include future liver blood tests, lifestyle changes, or medications to help relieve any bothersome symptoms that may be experienced. A treatment plan will be developed to help maintain or improve health. In severe cases, surgery might be recommended to repair suspected cardiovascular damage that may be associated with the cirrhosis as well.
CNP blood tests are often part of a complete panel or set of tests to help determine if there is something that needs to be addressed to improve patient health. Not all medical providers are equipped to conduct this test as of yet, so some patients may find availability to be an issue and require traveling on their part to have it done. When performed, however, it can provide a complete picture of patient health that a doctor may need to make a proper diagnosis.