metabolic panel

A metabolic panel is a series of chemical tests carried out on blood serum (the part of blood that doesn't contain cells) to provide information about a patient's metabolism. Blood is drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. There are two types of metabolic panel: basic metabolic panel (BMS) and comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP).


Basic metabolic panel

A basic metabolic panel is used to evaluate kidney and liver function, blood acid/base balance, and levels of blood sugar and electrolytes. (Electrolytes in the body include sodium, potassium, chlorine, and many others.) At least eight separate chemical tests are involved: BUN (blood urea nitrogen), carbon dioxide, creatinine, glucose, serum chloride, serum potassium, and serum sodium. Depending on which lab is involved, a BMS may also check the levels of calcium and the protein albumin.


Normal levels are as follows:


  • BUN (blood urea nitrogen): 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

    (L = liter; dL = deciliter = 0.1 liter; mg = milligram; mmol = millimole; mEq = milliequivalents)


    Comprehensive metabolic panel

    This involves a number of additional chemical tests to those carried out in the BMS. These additional tests are to establish the levels in the blood serum of the following substances: alkaline phosphatase, alanine transaminase, aspartate aminotransferase, bilirubin, gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase, lactate dehydrogenase, phosphorus, cholesterol, total protein, and uric acid. Calcium and albumin tests (which may or may not be part of a BMS) are also included.


    Normal levels are as follows:


  • Albumin: 3.9 to 5.0 g/dL
  • Alkaline phosphatase: 44 to 147 IU/L
  • ALTALT (alanine transaminase): 8 to 37 IU/L
  • ASTAST (aspartate aminotransferase): 10 to 34 IU/L
  • Direct bilirubin: 0.0 to 0.3 mg/dL
  • Gamma-GT (gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase): 0 to 51 IU/L
  • LDH (lactate dehydrogenase): 105 to 333 IU/L
  • Serum phosphorus - serum: 2.4 to 4.1 mg/dL
  • Total bilirubin: 0.2 to 1.9 mg/dL
  • Total cholesterol: 100 to 240 mg/dL
  • Total protein: 6.3 to 7.9 g/dL
  • Uric acid: 4.1 to 8.8 mg/dL