What is a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP)?
A comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) is a test that measures 14 different substances in your blood. It provides important information about your body’s chemical balance and metabolism. Metabolism is the process of how the body uses food and energy. A CMP includes tests for the following:
- Glucose, a type of sugar and your body’s main source of energy.
- Calcium, one of the body’s most important minerals. Calcium is essential for proper functioning of your nerves, muscles, and heart.
- Sodium, potassium, carbon dioxide, and chloride. These are electrolytes, electrically charged minerals that help control the amount of fluids and the balance of acids and bases in your body.
- Albumin, a protein made in the liver.
- Total protein, which measures the total amount of protein in the blood.
- ALP (alkaline phosphatase), ALT (alanine transaminase), and AST (aspartate aminotransferase). These are different enzymes made by the liver.
- Bilirubin, a waste product made by the liver.
- BUN (blood urea nitrogen) and creatinine, waste products removed from your blood by your kidneys.
Abnormal levels of any of these substances or combination of them can be a sign of a serious health problem.
Other names: chem 14, chemistry panel, chemistry screen, metabolic panel
What is it used for?
A CMP is used to check several body functions and processes, including:
- Liver and kidney health
- Blood sugar levels
- Blood protein levels
- Acid and base balance
- Fluid and electrolyte balance
A CMP may also be used to monitor the side effects of certain medicines.
Why do I need a CMP?
A CMP is often done as part of a routine checkup. You may also need this test if your health care provider thinks you have liver or kidney disease.
What happens during a CMP?
A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.
Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?
You may need to fast (not eat or drink) for 10–12 hours before the test.
Are there any risks to the test?
There is very little risk to having a blood test. You may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.
What do the results mean?
If any one result or combination of CMP results were not normal, it can indicate a number of different conditions. These include liver disease, kidney failure, or diabetes. You will likely need more tests to confirm or rule out a specific diagnosis.
If you have questions about your results, talk to your health care provider.
Is there anything else I need to know about a CMP?
There is a similar test to a CMP called a basic metabolic panel (BMP). A BMP includes eight of the same tests as a CMP. It does not include the liver and protein tests. Your provider may choose a CMP or a BMP depending on your health history and needs.