Chemistry panels are groups of tests that are routinely ordered to determine a person's general health status. They help evaluate the body's electrolyte balance and/or the status of several major body organs. The tests are performed on a blood sample, usually drawn from a vein in the arm.
Some of the number and type of tests contained in specific panels, and the names of the panels, have been standardized nationally. Examples of common chemistry panels include:
- Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP) - usually contains 8 tests, all of which are found in the CMP (below)
- Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) - usually includes 14 tests
- Electrolyte Panel
- Lipid Profile
- Liver Panel (also called Hepatic Function Panel)
- Renal Profile (also called Kidney Function Panel; Article coming soon)
- Thyroid Function Panel
While most laboratories offer the same set of CMP and BMP tests, some of these other panels may be tailored to meet the needs of the ordering doctor. (If a laboratory changes the tests in a CMP or BMP, it will usually also change the name of the panel to avoid confusion). For a list of the tests included in each of these panels and more information, such as when they may be ordered, click on the name of the panel above.