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 Blood Test: Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)

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Blood Test: Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)

Blood Test: Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP) P_BasicMetabolicPanel

Blood Test: Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)

What It Is

A basic metabolic panel (BMP) is a set of eight tests that gives information about:

  • sugar (glucose) and calcium levels in the blood
  • how the kidneys are functioning
  • the body's electrolyte and fluid balance

Why It's Done

A BMP is commonly ordered as part of routine medical exam or
physical. It's also often ordered for emergency room patients because it
can provide information on medical problems causing chemical imbalances
in the body that may need immediate attention.

The BMP evaluates:

  • Glucose, a type of sugar used by the body for energy. Abnormal levels can indicate diabetes or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
  • Calcium, which plays an important role in muscle
    contraction, transmitting messages through the nerves, and the release
    of hormones. Elevated or decreased calcium levels may indicate a hormone
    imbalance or problems with the kidneys, bones, or pancreas.
  • Sodium, potassium, carbon dioxide, and chloride (electrolytes),
    which help regulate the body's fluid levels and its acid-base balance.
    They also play a role in regulating heart rhythm, muscle contraction,
    and brain function. Abnormal levels also may occur with heart disease,
    kidney disease, or dehydration.
  • Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine,
    which are waste products filtered out of the blood by the kidneys.
    Increased concentrations in the blood may signal a decrease in kidney


The BMP may be performed without any preparation in an emergency, or
it may be done after fasting. Your child may be asked to stop eating and
drinking for 8 to 12 hours before this blood test.

On the day of the test, it may help to have your child wear a
short-sleeve shirt to allow easier access for the technician who will be
drawing the blood.The Procedure

A health professional will usually draw the blood from a vein. For an
infant, the blood may be obtained by puncturing the heel with a small
needle (lancet). If the blood is being drawn from a vein, the skin
surface is cleaned with antiseptic, and an elastic band (tourniquet) is
placed around the upper arm to apply pressure and cause the vein to
swell with blood. A needle is inserted into a vein (usually in the arm
inside of the elbow or on the back of the hand) and blood is withdrawn
and collected in a vial or syringe.

After the procedure, the elastic band is removed. Once the blood has
been collected, the needle is removed and the area is covered with
cotton or a bandage to stop the bleeding. The entire test will only take
a few minutes.

Blood Test: Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP) 974_image

Blood Test: Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP) 865_imageWhat to Expect

Either method (heel or vein withdrawal) of collecting a sample of
blood is only temporarily uncomfortable and can feel like a quick
pinprick. Afterward, there may be some mild bruising, which should go
away in a few days.

Getting the Results

The blood sample will be processed by a machine. Parts of a BMP may
be available in minutes in an emergency, but more commonly, the full
test results come after a few hours or the next day.

If any of the BMP results appear to be abnormal, further testing may
be necessary to determine what's causing the problem and how to treat


The BMP test is considered a safe procedure. However, as with many
medical tests, some problems can occur with having blood drawn, such as:

  • fainting or feeling lightheaded
  • hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin causing a lump or a bruise)
  • pain associated with multiple punctures to locate a vein

Helping Your Child

Having a blood test is relatively painless. Still, many kids are
afraid of needles. Explaining the test in terms your child can
understand might help ease some of the fear.

Allow your child to ask the technician any questions he or she might
have. Tell your child to try to relax and stay still during the
procedure, as tensing muscles and moving can make it harder and more
painful to draw blood. It also may help if your child looks away when
the needle is being inserted into the skin.

If You Have Questions

If you have questions about the BMP test, speak with your doctor.

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