The comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) is used as a broad screening tool to evaluate organ function and check for conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, and kidney disease. The CMP may also be ordered to monitor known conditions, such as hypertension, and to monitor people taking specific medications for any kidney- or liver-related side effects. If a health practitioner is interested in following two or more individual CMP components, he or she may order the entire CMP because it offers more information.
The CMP is routinely ordered as part of a blood work-up for a medical exam or yearly physical. While the individual tests are sensitive, they do not usually tell a health practitioner specifically what is wrong. Abnormal test results or groups of test results are usually followed up with other specific tests to confirm or rule out a suspected diagnosis.
Results of the tests that are part of the CMP 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. For example, a high result on just one of the liver enzyme tests has different implications than high results on several liver enzyme tests.
Sometimes, especially in hospitalized patients, several sets of CMPs, often performed on different days, may be evaluated to gain insights into the underlying condition and response to treatment.
Out-of-range results for any of the tests in the CMP can be due to a variety of different conditions, including, for example, 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 CMP. 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 August 30, 2012. | This article was last modified on March 16, 2015.
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