Basic Metabolic Panels

What is a Basic Metabolic Sample?

The basic metabolic panel (BMP) is a frequently ordered panel of 8 tests that gives a health practitioner important information about the current status of a person’s metabolism, including health of the kidneys, blood glucose level, and electrolyte and acid/base balance. Abnormal results, and especially combinations of abnormal results, can indicate a problem that needs to be addressed.


Energy source for the body; a steady supply must be available for use, and a relatively constant level of glucose must be maintained in the blood.

One of the most important minerals in the body; it is essential for the proper functioning of muscles, nerves, and the heart and is required in blood clotting and in the formation of bones.

Vital to normal body processes, including nerve and muscle function

Vital to cell metabolism and muscle function

CO2 (carbon dioxide, bicarbonate)
Helps to maintain the body’s acid-base balance (pH)

Helps to regulate the amount of fluid in the body and maintain the acid-base balance

BUN (blood urea nitrogen)
Waste product filtered out of the blood by the kidneys; conditions that affect the kidney have the potential to affect the amount of urea in the blood.

Waste product produced in the muscles; it is filtered out of the blood by the kidneys so blood levels are a good indication of how well the kidneys are working.

How is the sample collected for testing?

A blood sample is obtained by inserting a needle into a vein in the arm.

Is any test preparation needed to ensure the quality of the sample?

The person may be instructed to fast (nothing but water) for 10 to 12 hours prior to the blood draw. Depending on the reason for ordering the BMP, it may be drawn after fasting or on a random basis.

How is it used?

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 – all of which are related to a person’s metabolism. It can also be used to monitor hospitalized patients and people with certain known conditions, such as hypertension and hypokalemia.

If you’re a health practitioner interested in following two or more individual BMP components, you may order the entire BMP because it offers more information. Alternatively, you 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. Contact us to order a BMP or a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP), a group of 14 tests that includes those in the BMP.