In recent years, biomarkers have been recognized as important tools for diagnosis, risk stratification, and therapeutic decision-making in cardiovascular diseases. Currently, the clinical potential of several natriuretic peptides is under scientific investigation. The well-known counter-regulatory hormones are atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP), dendroaspis natriuretic peptide (DNP) and urodilatin, which play an important role in the homeostasis of body fluid volume. ANP and BNP have already been demonstrated to have diagnostic usefulness in a great number of studies, which have progressed from bench to bedside. This article summarizes existing data on ANP and related peptides in cardiovascular and other disorders, and outlines the potential clinical usefulness of these markers.