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H is for High NT-ProBNP Results

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a-to-z-letters-hI suppose that when someone is sick, going to the doctor and getting a test done, then waiting for that test result, is one of the most frustrating wait times of your life. Besides waiting to see if the stick turns the right color or has the right number of lines when you think you might be pregnant, there’s no other wait time that’s probably as nerve-wracking. Well, I say that, but I bet when a guy asks a girl to marry him and she doesn’t answer within 2 seconds, that’s probably pretty crazy scary for the guy too. That’s why girls should ask guys. We are much more patient (wink). Not.

Okay, so today’s post is about BNP. High BNP. Why? Because I went to the doctor yesterday and he tested my BNP levels, and I was high. So for you to understand what this means, let me see if I can go back in time.

A couple of years ago, when I was admitted to the hospital with MMPE-bilateral (massive multiple pulmonary embolisms–both lungs), the clots had gone through my heart and had caused some valves to stretch out and did some damage there, and I had the less common left-sided heart failure, or what they call diastolic heart failure. Usually, the right side fails. They told me my heart was strong, but it wasn’t resting between beats. That’s fine for now, but over time, it will increase the pressure to the right side of the heart, and eventually the heart will enlarge (which is was enlarged when I was admitted), and eventually other problems, and eventually, eventually, eventually….

But they were going to take care of me. They were going to make things better.

So they pulled my nt-ProBNP the day I was admitted to the hospital. It was over 9,000. In fact, it was close to 10,000. Now, it’s important to understand that anything under 100 is normal, and under 50 preferred. I was 10,000. To put this in perspective, I want to share this quote with you from a study–and know that other studies have found similar results:

The study found that those seeking medical attention who “… had an N-terminal prohormone brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) value >2000 pg/mL were followed up for survival. Mortality in the entire population was 21% after 3 months, 35% after 1 year…”

Do you get that? People who were over 2000 died, a good percentage of them. I was over 10,000… the statistics go on to say that those with a BNP over 5k had an 80% mortality rate at 5 years. 80%! That’s a lot! If my odds of winning the lottery were 80%, I’d be buying tickets left and right, yanno?

But mine wasn’t even just over 5k. Mine was nearly 10k!

BRINGING HIGH DOWN

About six months out of the hospital, I was hospitalized again, but this time, my BNP was just a little over 6k. Better, but still not great. I was a little over 5k a few months later.

Then, one year after being released from the hospital, I got my BNP done, and I was at a little under 500. Yay! Still in the congestive heart failure range, but much better than 5, 6 and 10k! Whoohoo!

Then, two years to the date of the first hospital stay, we had my first breakthrough–my BNP level was NORMAL! It was only 56, and while they wanted it below 50, anything under 100 is normal, and we were so pleased to see this. It was a great sign that everything we were doing was working, the diuretics, the heart rate pills, the ACE inhibitors, and all that–it was working. I was declared ‘clinically stable’ on the heart failure. This doesn’t happen a lot for people who present with conditions like I did.

I attribute a lot of my good test results and better health and feeling better to being too stubborn to really know any better. I decided one day I didn’t want to die, so I’m not going to any time soon. See how that works? I think, whether you guys realize it or not, there’s something to this not wanting to die. I don’t think we can die when we don’t want to. At some point, I think we make a choice, even if that choice is while we’re unconscious and damaged–I think we get to make a choice, in some afterlife somewhere somehow. I’ve simply chosen that I’m not ready to die yet. Someday, maybe, but not today.

Sadly, frustratingly, I’ve been feeling a little down and I noticed that my breathing has been hard recently, so yesterday, my family fearing I might have pneumonia, they sent me to the doc. The doc took my BNP levels and here’s what they were:

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They did do an EKG though, and there was nothing on it that he was worried about, I’m not having any ischemic events, and my heart seems strong still. That’s good news. Since I was having trouble breathing, having some pain when breathing in, they did an x-ray to check for pneumonia, but we don’t have the results from it yet. Usually, MyChart sends them to me right away, so it’s possible they have something on them they wanted the doc to see before releasing them to me. It’s looking like I might have pleural effusion–which is sort of like reverse pneumonia. It’s when there’s fluid in the linings and stuff around the lungs, instead of fluid inside the lungs. I’ve been told they feel similar.

I also had low calcium at the visit–not super low, but low. Not sure what that means either and haven’t had much time to think about it since I read it. He’ll call me tomorrow and let me know what he wants me to do. We’ll go from there.

So high BNP… puts me back in the CHF range again. Disappointing after a year or nothing but improvements to have a little bit of a setback.

Here’s hoping I can get that number back down again by the next visit.

Wish me luck.

Love and stuff,

Michy

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One Response to “H is for High NT-ProBNP Results”

  1. Derek Odom says:

    I’ve never even heard of this. LOW NUMBERS!

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