The basic metabolic panel (BMP) is used to check the status of a person's kidneys and their electrolyte and acid/base balance, as well as their blood glucose level. It can also be used to monitor hospitalized patients and people with certain known conditions, such as hypertension and hypokalemia. If a health practitioner is interested in following two or more individual BMP components, he or she may order the entire BMP because it offers more information. Alternatively, the healthcare provider may order individual tests when monitoring, such as a follow-up glucose, potassium, or calcium, or order an electrolyte panel to monitor sodium, potassium, chloride, and CO2. If a health practitioner wants more information, he or she may order a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP), a group of 14 tests that includes those in the BMP.
A BMP may be ordered as part of a routine health exam.
The panel is also often ordered in the hospital emergency room setting because its components give health practitioners important information about the current status of a person's kidneys, electrolyte and acid/base balance, and blood glucose and calcium levels. Significant changes in these test results can indicate acute problems, such as kidney failure, insulin shock or diabetic coma, respiratory distress, or heart rhythm changes.
Results of the tests that are part of the BMP are typically evaluated together to look for patterns of results. A single abnormal test result may mean something different than if several test results are abnormal.
Out-of-range results on any of the tests included in the BMP can be due to a variety of different conditions, including kidney failure, breathing problems, and diabetes-related complications. Typically, if any results are out-of-range, one or more follow-up tests are performed to help pinpoint the cause and/or help establish a diagnosis.
See the articles on the individual tests for more detailed information about each one.
A variety of prescription and over-the-counter drugs can affect the results of the components of the BMP. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking. Likewise, it is important to give a complete history as many other factors can also affect the interpretation of your results.
This article was last reviewed on September 6, 2012. | This article was last modified on March 16, 2015.
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