Basic metabolic panel

The basic metabolic panel is a group of blood tests that provides information about your body's metabolism.

How is the Test Performed?

A blood sample is needed. Most of the time blood is typically drawn from a vein located on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand.

Preparation for the Test

You should not eat or drink for 8 hours before the test.

How will the Test Feel?

You may feel slight pain or a sting when the needle is inserted. You may also feel some throbbing at the site after the blood is drawn.

Why is the Test Performed?

This test is done to evaluate:

  • Kidney function
  • Blood acid/base balance
  • Blood sugar levels

In some cases, the test also is used to check blood levels of calcium and a protein called albumin.

Normal Results for Basic metabolic panel

The following are normal ranges for the blood chemicals tested:

  • BUN: 7 to 20 mg/dL
  • CO2 (carbon dioxide): 20 to 29 mmol/L
  • Creatinine: 0.8 to 1.4 mg/dL
  • Glucose: 64 to 128 mg/dL
  • Serum chloride: 101 to 111 mmol/L
  • Serum potassium: 3.7 to 5.2 mEq/L
  • Serum sodium: 136 to 144 mEq/L

Key to abbreviations:

  • L = liter
  • dL = deciliter = 0.1 liter
  • mg = milligram
  • mmol = millimole
  • mEq = milliequivalents

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

The examples above show the common measurements for results for these tests. Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Abnormal results can be due to a variety of different medical conditions, including kidney failure, breathing problems, diabetes or diabetes-related complications, and medication side effects. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your results from each test.

Review Date: 4/29/2013
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2014 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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