Laboratory panels are groups of tests that are routinely ordered to determine a person’s general health status. They help evaluate, for example, the body’s electrolyte balance and/or the status of several major body organs. The tests are performed on a blood sample, usually drawn from a vein in the arm.
Some of the number and type of tests contained in specific panels, and the names of the panels, have been standardized nationally. Examples of common chemistry panels include:
- Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP) – usually contains 8 tests, all of which are found in the CMP (listed below); provides information about the status of a person’s kidneys and respiratory system as well as electrolyte and acid/base balance and level of blood glucose
- Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) – usually includes 14 tests; provides the same information as the BMP with the addition of the status of a person’s liver and important blood proteins
- Electrolyte Panel – helpful for detecting a problem with the body’s fluid and electrolyte balance
- Lipid Profile– used to assess a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease
- Liver Panel – used to screen for, detect, evaluate, and monitor acute and chronic liver inflammation (hepatitis), liver disease and/or damage
- Renal Panel– contains tests such as albumin, creatinine, BUN, eGFR to evaluate kidney function
- Thyroid Function Panel– to help evaluate thyroid gland function and to help diagnose thyroid disorders
While most laboratories offer the same set of CMP and BMP tests, some of these other panels may be tailored to meet the needs of the health practitioner ordering the tests.