Comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP): uses, procedures


The Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) is a set of 14 blood tests that provide your healthcare provider with valuable information about your body's metabolism, such as liver and kidney function, fluid balance, and electrolyte levels . This can be done to assess your general health or to diagnose and track the progress of certain diseases and their treatment.

Also called a metabolic panel, chemical panel, or chemical panel 14, this is a relatively common test performed on the basis of a single blood draw.

Rafe Swan / Getty Images

The purpose of the test

The CMP is usually done as part of your annual checkup. It can also be requested if you are sick and hospitalized.

Your healthcare provider may also order a complete metabolic panel based on your risk factors for certain conditions, or to monitor them if you have already been diagnosed, for example:

In addition to determining the health of your liver and kidneys, CMP also monitors your blood sugar and protein levels, as well as the electrolyte and fluid balance in your body.

CMP does not necessarily diagnose a disease. Given the breadth of the test, it often gives your doctor a starting point for ordering more specific tests to diagnose a specific condition.

The test can also be used to monitor medications that can affect kidney or liver function. These may include pain relievers (acetaminophen, naproxen, ibuprofen), statins, antibiotics and illegal drugs (cocaine, heroin, amphetamines).

Components (edit)

The 14 tests that make up a complete metabolic panel are as follows. It is useful to consider these measurements together rather than separately, as the result templates can be more revealing, so they are tested simultaneously.


  • Albumin A protein produced by the liver that helps transport vitamins and enzymes through the bloodstream. The test measures liver function .
  • Total protein: measures all proteins in the blood.


  • Sodium : Essential for basic normal body functions, including fluid maintenance and muscle and nerve function. Elevated sodium levels can increase fluid retention and blood pressure.
  • Potassium – Helps maintain normal heart and muscle function. High or low potassium levels can be associated with hypertension and kidney disease .
  • Carbon dioxide : helps maintain acid-base balance in the body.
  • Chloride : affects fluid balance and pH.

Kidney tests

  • AMK (blood urea nitrogen): The kidneys remove this waste product from the blood. A high level is a red flag for kidney function.
  • Creatinine : a waste product of muscle activity. An elevated level can indicate kidney problems.

Liver tests

  • MOUNTAIN (alkaline phosphatase): An enzyme in the liver and bones that can indicate liver damage and bone disease.
  • ALT (alanine aminotransferase): an enzyme of the liver and kidneys.
  • AST (aspartate aminotransferase): an enzyme of the heart and liver
  • Bilirubin: a waste product of the liver.


  • Glucose Also called blood sugar, it is your body's main source of energy. High blood sugar levels can be a sign of prediabetes and diabetes.
  • Calcium : this mineral is essential for the proper functioning of the muscles and the heart, and for the formation of bones.

The Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP) is a simpler alternative to CMP. Includes the same CMP measurements minus liver and protein tests. Your doctor may order this less comprehensive test if, for example, liver function is not a problem.

Before the test

A complete metabolic panel takes just a few minutes. This can be done in your PCP's office or lab. This can also be done in the emergency room or if you have been hospitalized.

Because the test requires a minimum of eight hours of fasting, many patients prescribe it first thing in the morning.

Blood is drawn from your hand, so it makes sense to wear something with sleeves that can be easily rolled up.

During the exam

The metabolic panel is based on a single blood sample.

The procedure is the same as for any other venipuncture, and a nurse or phlebotomist will collect the sample.

  1. The sweepstakes site will be cleaned with alcohol.
  2. The tourniquet will be placed over the site where the needle will be inserted. You may also be asked to squeeze something to get more blood into the vein.
  3. A small needle will be inserted so that blood can be collected.
  4. Once the bottle is full, the needle will be removed, pressure will be applied, and a bandage will be applied.

You will be allowed to leave immediately after the test. Your sample will then be sent to a laboratory for analysis.


The Comprehensive Metabolic Panel is generally safe. The only risks are associated with the blood sample itself, and these tend to go away quickly.

  • Bruising / bleeding at the injection site
  • Multi-stick pain when looking for a vein
  • Infection
  • Restlessness and / or dizziness from drawing blood.

interpretation of results

Your healthcare provider should get results quickly, in a day or two at most. As the details of the various tests involved show, the metabolic panel provides healthcare professionals with a comprehensive view of the overall metabolic state, especially the liver and kidneys, and their various processes.

Your healthcare provider will generally look for patterns in different results rather than a specific result. Slightly higher or lower results in one area may not be of medical importance.

Test Normal range
Albumen 3.4 to 5.4 g / dL (34 to 54 g / L)
MOUNTAIN From 20 to 130 U / l
ALT 4 to 36 U / l
AST From 8 to 33 U / l
Bilirubin 0.1 to 1.2 mg / dL (2 to 21 μmol / L)
BUN 6 to 20 mg / dL (2.14 to 7.14 mmol / L)
Calcium 8.5 to 10.2 mg / dL (2.13 to 2.55 mmol / L)
Carbon dioxide 23 to 29 mEq / L (23 to 29 mmol / L)
Chloride 96 to 106 meq / L (96 to 106 mmol / L)
Creatinine 0.6 to 1.3 mg / dL (53 to 114.9 μmol / L)
Glucose 70 to 100 mg / dL (3.9 to 5.6 mmol / L)
Potassium 3.7 to 5.2 meq / L (3.70 to 5.20 mmol / L)
Sodium 135 to 145 mEq / L (135 to 145 mmol / L)
Total protein 6.0 to 8.3 g / dL (60 to 83 g / L)

If you are hospitalized on different days, multiple doctors may be assigned to monitor progress .

Follow up

While abnormal tests can indicate serious medical conditions, such as diabetes and kidney / liver problems, additional tests for the specific condition will be followed to make an accurate diagnosis.

If your healthcare provider wishes to perform an even more in-depth metabolic test, the following additional blood tests may be ordered (if they have not already been performed):

Get the word of drug information

Be sure to talk to your healthcare professional about any abnormal results and possible next steps to resolve the problem. The best way to reduce anxiety before the test is to ask questions and fully understand what CMP means for your health.

Related Articles
Foods to Avoid If You Have Dry Mouth From Radiation

Dry mouth (xerostomia) is a common side effect of radiation therapy for people undergoing treatment for head and neck cancer. Read more

Thyroid adenoma: Causes, Treatment, and Diagnosis

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your throat that produces hormones affecting a number of Read more

NSAIDs and You Thyroid Function

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most frequently taken over-the-counter medications. Due to their systemic or whole body effects, it's Read more

How Doctors Are Failing Thyroid Disease Patients

The thyroid disease community has continually mentioned the lack of support they experience and the difficulty they have navigating the Read more