Blood tests

Blood tests are useful in screening for heart failure and to look for possible causes or triggers.

High levels of BNP in your blood have been linked with heart failure and the test is useful in both diagnosis and management decisions. Recently, measurement of BNP or N-terminal BNP has become routine in assessing the diagnosis and severity of heart failure and the test is readily available. A normal BNP in a patient who hasn’t been treated for heart failure indicates that there are most likely other causes for your symptoms.

A blood sample will be taken from you by a doctor, nurse or phlebotomist (healthcare professional who specialises in taking blood samples). They will be looking for signs of anaemia, diabetes, problems with your liver or kidneys, thyroid function and levels of natriuretic peptides (BNP).

Conditions such as anaemia, diabetes, reduced kidney function and abnormal thyroid function are all conditions that can either cause or complicate heart failure.

Return to Common tests for heart failure

ESC Guidelines for Heart Failure

What patients need to know

This guide for patients from the European Society of Cardiology aims to provide an overview of the latest evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure.

In particular, it should help patients to understand the:

  • main types of heart failure
  • medicines used to treat heart failure
  • devices that may be appropriate
  • importance of rehabilitation
  • management by a multidisciplinary team
  • importance of self-care in managing your own condition

Learn more


A series of 9 simple, captivating animations explaining heart failure and its treatment.

These narrated animations explain how a healthy heart works, what happens to it in heart failure and how various treatments work to improve your health.


In this section you can watch, listen or read interviews with other people with heart failure and their caregivers.


and share your own views and experiences with other patients, families and caregivers. is a European Society of Cardiology website

The website was developed under the direction of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The ESC is a world leader in the discovery and dissemination of best practices in cardiovascular medicine. Our members and decision-makers are healthcare professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to represent professionals in the field of cardiology in Europe and beyond.

Back to top