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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 is sometimes done along with a routine health check-up. It may also help diagnose and treat a medical problem your child is having. It does not diagnose a specific problem but it can help your child’s healthcare provider know what other tests your child might need. It also is a way to see how well treatment for a disease is working.

How do I prepare my child for this test?

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

How is the test done?

Having this test will take just a few minutes. For young babies, the heel is pricked and a small amount of the blood is taken. For older children, a small amount of blood is taken from a vein in your child’s arm with a needle. The blood is collected in tubes and sent to a lab.

Ask your child’s healthcare provider when and how your child will get the results of the test.

What do the test results mean?

Your child’s body needs just the right balance of chemicals to work well. Medicines, diseases, injuries, and other conditions can affect the chemicals in your child’s 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 child’s test result is not normal?

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

  • If your child needs more tests
  • What kind of treatment your child might need
  • What lifestyle, diet, or other changes your child might need to make
Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.3 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-04-29
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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