Basic Metabolic Panel

What is the basic metabolic panel test?

This test measures many of the chemicals in the blood, such as sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate, glucose, calcium, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), and creatinine.

Other names for this test are chem-8 or chem panel. A similar test called a comprehensive metabolic panel includes liver panel, albumin, and total protein tests as well as the basic metabolic panel.

Why is this test done?

This test may help diagnose and treat a medical problem you are having. It does not diagnose a specific problem but it can help your healthcare provider know what other tests you might need. It also is a way to see how well treatment for a disease is working.

How do I prepare for this test?

  • Your healthcare provider will tell you when to stop eating and drinking before the test. Food and drink before the test may affect the results.
  • You may need to avoid taking certain medicines before the test because they might affect the test result. Make sure your healthcare provider knows about any medicines, herbs, or supplements that you are taking. Ask your provider before stopping any of your regular medicines.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any questions about the test.

How is the test done?

Having this test will take just a few minutes. A small amount of blood is taken from a vein in your arm with a needle. The blood is collected in tubes and sent to a lab.

Ask your healthcare provider when and how you will get the results of the test.

What do the test results mean?

Your body needs just the right balance of chemicals to work well. Medicines, diseases, injuries, and other conditions can affect the chemicals in your blood, such as:

  • Kidney problems
  • Lung problems
  • Heart problems
  • Diabetes
  • Dehydration (loss of fluid through burns, vomiting, diarrhea, blood loss, sweat, or urine)

What if my test results are not normal?

Test results are only one part of a larger picture that takes into account your medical history, physical exam, and current health. Sometimes a test needs to be repeated to check the first result. Talk to your healthcare provider about your result and ask questions, such as:

  • If you need more tests
  • What kind of treatment you might need
  • What lifestyle, diet, or other changes you might need to make
Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2013-10-18
Last reviewed: 2014-04-29
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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