Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP), Plasma

The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.

Also known as: Basic Metabolic Panel BMP Plasma, Basic Metabolic Panel, Plasma, BMP, Plasma, Chem 7, Plasma, Chemistry Panel, Plasma, Chemistry Screen, Plasma, SMA 7, Plasma, SMAC7 , Plasma

Bun/Creatinine Ratio

A ratio between a person’s BUN and blood creatinine to help determine what is causing these concentrations to be higher than normal. The ratio of BUN to creatinine is usually between 10:1 and 20:1. An increased ratio may be due to a condition that causes a decrease in the flow of blood to the kidneys, such as congestive heart failure or dehydration. It may also be seen with increased protein, from gastrointestinal bleeding, or increased protein in the diet. The ratio may be decreased with liver disease (due to decrease in the formation of urea) and malnutrition.


You have more calcium in your body than any other mineral. Calcium has many important jobs. The body stores more than 99 percent of its calcium in the bones and teeth to help make and keep them strong. The rest is throughout the body in blood, muscle and the fluid between cells. Your body needs calcium to help muscles and blood vessels contract and expand, to secrete hormones and enzymes and to send messages through the nervous system.

Carbon Dioxide

CO2 is carbon dioxide. Measures the amount of carbon dioxide in the liquid part of your blood, called the serum. In the body, most of the CO2 is in the form of a substance called bicarbonate (HCO3-). Therefore, the CO2 blood test is really a measure of your blood bicarbonate level.


Chloride is a type of electrolyte. It works with other electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, and carbon dioxide (CO2). These substances help keep the proper balance of body fluids and maintain the body's acid-base balance. This is a measure of the amount of chloride in the fluid portion (serum) of the blood.


The creatinine blood test measures the level of creatinine in the blood. This test is done to see how well your kidneys work.

Egfr African American

Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is a test used to check how well the kidneys are working. Specifically, it estimates how much blood passes through the glomeruli each minute. Glomeruli are the tiny filters in the kidneys that filter waste from the blood.

Egfr Non-Afr. American

Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is a test used to check how well the kidneys are working. Specifically, it estimates how much blood passes through the glomeruli each minute. Glomeruli are the tiny filters in the kidneys that filter waste from the blood.


A blood glucose test measures the amount of a sugar called glucose in a sample of your blood. Glucose is a major source of energy for most cells of the body, including those in the brain. The hormones insulin and glucagon help control blood glucose levels.


Potassium is a mineral that the body needs to work normally. It helps nerves and muscles communicate. It also helps move nutrients into cells and waste products out of cells. A diet rich in potassium helps to offset some of sodium's harmful effects on blood pressure.


Sodium is a substance that the body needs to work properly it is vital to normal body processes, including nerve and muscle function

Urea Nitrogen (Bun)

BUN stands for blood urea nitrogen. Urea nitrogen is what forms when protein breaks down. BUN measures the amount of urea nitrogen in the blood.
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The Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP), Plasma test contains 1 test with 11 biomarkers.

Brief Description: The Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP) Plasma test, often just referred to as a Basic Metabolic Panel, is a series of blood tests that measure certain chemicals and electrolytes in the blood. It provides vital information about the heart, kidney function, muscle activity, and other bodily processes. The tests in the panel can give healthcare providers an overview of the body's fluid balance, levels of electrolytes, and how well some vital organs are functioning.

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Plasma

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When and Why a Basic Metabolic Panel Plasma Test May Be Ordered

A Basic Metabolic Panel Plasma test is frequently ordered as part of a routine health examination. Its primary purposes include:

  • Routine Health Check: During regular health screenings to give a general overview of the body's internal function.

  • Symptom Investigation: When a patient presents symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, irregular heartbeat, trouble breathing, or frequent urination.

  • Medication Monitoring: To monitor potential side effects of medications, especially those that might impact kidney function or electrolyte levels.

  • Disease Monitoring: For patients with known conditions such as hypertension, heart failure, or diabetes, to monitor disease progression or response to treatments.

What the Basic Metabolic Panel Plasma Test Checks For

The BMP typically checks for the following components in the plasma:

  • Glucose: A primary source of energy for the body.

  • Calcium: Essential for bone health, muscle and nerve function, and blood clotting.

  • Electrolytes, including:

    • Sodium: Vital for normal nerve and muscle function.
    • Potassium: Crucial for heart and muscle function.
    • Bicarbonate (or Total CO2): Helps to maintain the body's pH balance.
    • Chloride: Helps control the body's balance of fluids.
  • Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN): Measures the amount of nitrogen in the blood that comes from the waste product urea. It indicates kidney function.

  • Creatinine: Another indicator of kidney function.

Other Lab Tests Ordered Alongside Basic Metabolic Panel Plasma Test

Tests often ordered alongside a BMP are chosen based on the preliminary results from the BMP itself and the clinical context. Here are some tests that may be ordered in conjunction with a BMP and the reasons why:

  1. Complete Blood Count (CBC):

    • Purpose: Assesses levels of different blood cells, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
    • Why Is It Ordered: A CBC is a common follow-up to a BMP if there is a need to check for signs of anemia, infection, or other blood-related conditions.
  2. Magnesium:

    • Purpose: An important electrolyte for muscle and nerve function, not included in a standard BMP.
    • Why Is It Ordered: If there are symptoms such as muscle weakness or cardiac issues, or if other electrolytes are out of balance, magnesium levels may be checked.
  3. Phosphorus/Phosphate:

    • Purpose: An electrolyte that plays a role in energy production and bone health.
    • Why Is It Ordered: If kidney function is abnormal or there is concern for bone metabolism issues, phosphate levels may be assessed.
  4. Liver Function Tests (LFTs):

    • Purpose: Assess the health of the liver by measuring enzymes, proteins, and substances produced or processed by the liver.
    • Why Is It Ordered: If there is clinical suspicion of liver disease or abnormal results from the BMP, such as an altered blood glucose level, these tests can give more information.
  5. Lipid Panel:

    • Purpose: Measures levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Often done as part of routine health screenings to assess cardiovascular risk, especially if the patient has diabetes or high blood glucose levels.
  6. Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c):

    • Purpose: Provides an average blood glucose level over the past three months.
    • Why Is It Ordered: If the BMP shows a high glucose level, this test can determine if there is a longer-term issue with blood sugar control indicative of diabetes.
  7. Thyroid Function Tests:

    • Purpose: Measure hormones produced by the thyroid gland to assess its function.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Symptoms like fatigue, weight changes, or abnormalities in the BMP may lead a clinician to evaluate thyroid function.
  8. Urinalysis:

    • Purpose: Tests urine for a variety of substances that can provide information about kidney and overall health.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Along with BUN and creatinine in the BMP, a urinalysis can help diagnose kidney problems or urinary tract infections.
  9. C-Reactive Protein (CRP) or Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR):

    • Purpose: Indicators of inflammation in the body.
    • Why Is It Ordered: If there are symptoms that suggest inflammation or to follow up on an abnormal BMP result that could be related to an inflammatory condition.
  10. Iron Studies:

    • Purpose: Measure aspects of the body’s iron storage and transport.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To investigate causes of anemia, particularly if related symptoms are present.
  11. B-Type Natriuretic Peptide (BNP):

    • Purpose: Helps evaluate for congestive heart failure.
    • Why Is It Ordered: If there are symptoms like shortness of breath; also, electrolyte imbalances may be related to heart function.

These additional tests are ordered based on the individual's symptoms, health history, and possible conditions the physician may be concerned about. They help to provide a more comprehensive view of the individual’s health and can assist in diagnosing, monitoring, and managing health conditions.

Conditions or Diseases that Require a Basic Metabolic Panel Plasma Test

  • Hypertension: Regular BMP can monitor the effects of medications and the progression of the condition.

  • Heart diseases: Especially heart failure, where electrolyte balance is crucial.

  • Kidney diseases: Elevated BUN or creatinine can indicate decreased kidney function.

  • Diabetes: Elevated glucose levels in the BMP can indicate poor blood sugar control.

Usage of Results from Basic Metabolic Panel Plasma Test by Health Care Providers

Healthcare providers interpret the BMP results to:

  • Assess Overall Health: Determine a baseline of the patient's metabolic state, especially during routine check-ups.

  • Diagnose Medical Conditions: For instance, abnormal electrolyte levels can suggest an issue with cardiac, renal, or endocrine function.

  • Monitor Existing Conditions: Such as checking kidney function in a patient on certain medications or monitoring glucose levels in a diabetic patient.

  • Guide Treatment: If levels are found to be outside of normal ranges, it can inform adjustments in medications, dietary recommendations, or other medical interventions.

In summary, the Basic Metabolic Panel Plasma test provides a snapshot of a patient's internal metabolic and organ function, assisting healthcare providers in diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment guidance.

Most Common Questions About the Basic Metabolic Panel Plasma test:

Purpose and Clinical Indications for the Basic Metabolic Panel Plasma Test

What is the main objective of the Basic Metabolic Panel Plasma test?

The Basic Metabolic Panel Plasma test, commonly referred to as the BMP, is a set of blood tests that provides information about your heart, kidney, and muscle function. This panel measures glucose, calcium, and electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, carbon dioxide, and chloride.

When is the Basic Metabolic Panel Plasma test typically ordered by physicians?

Physicians might order the BMP as part of a routine health exam to assess general health, to monitor a known medical condition, or to check for potential side effects of certain medications.

Interpretation of Results

How are the results of the Basic Metabolic Panel Plasma test generally interpreted?

The results of the BMP are interpreted based on reference ranges. Levels that fall outside these ranges may indicate issues like kidney disease, respiratory problems, or diabetes. For instance, high glucose levels might suggest diabetes or prediabetes. Abnormal calcium levels can be indicative of kidney issues, bone disease, or issues related to the parathyroid gland. Electrolyte imbalances, such as sodium and potassium, can hint at dehydration, kidney disease, or conditions like acidosis or alkalosis.

Implications and Medical Management

If there are abnormalities in the Basic Metabolic Panel Plasma test, what might be the next steps?

Depending on the specific abnormalities observed, physicians may recommend further diagnostic tests, changes in medication, or lifestyle modifications. For instance, if glucose levels are high, a doctor might recommend a hemoglobin A1c test to check for diabetes.

Test Specifics

How is the Basic Metabolic Panel Plasma test different from the Comprehensive Metabolic Panel?

While the BMP focuses on specific components, mainly associated with fluid balance and kidney function, the Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) is more extensive. The CMP includes all of the BMP tests plus additional tests like protein levels, liver enzymes, and bilirubin, offering a broader view of the body's chemical balance and metabolism.

Are there conditions or factors that might influence the results of the Basic Metabolic Panel Plasma test?

Yes, certain factors can influence BMP results, including dehydration or overhydration, certain medications like diuretics or antacids, a recent meal (especially for glucose levels), and kidney conditions or diseases.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

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