Comprehensive metabolic panel

  • Definition
    • A comprehensive metabolic panel is a group of blood tests. They provide an overall picture of your body's chemical balance and metabolism. Metabolism refers to all the physical and chemical processes in the body that use energy.

  • Alternative Names
    • Metabolic panel - comprehensive; Chem-20; SMA20; Sequential multi-channel analysis with computer-20; SMAC20; Metabolic panel 20

  • How the Test is Performed
  • How to Prepare for the Test
    • You should not eat or drink for 8 hours before the test.

  • How the Test will Feel
    • When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain. Others feel only a prick or stinging. Afterward, there may be some throbbing or a slight bruise. This soon goes away.

  • Why the Test is Performed
    • This test gives your health care provider information about:

      • How your kidneys and liver are working
      • Blood sugar, cholesterol, and calcium levels
      • Sodium, potassium, and chloride levels (called electrolytes)
      • Protein levels

      Your provider may order this test during a yearly exam or routine checkup.

  • Normal Results
    • Normal values for glucose and creatinine can vary with age.

      Normal value ranges for all tests may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or may test different specimens. Talk to your provider about the meaning of your specific test results.

  • What Abnormal Results Mean
    • Abnormal results can be due to a variety of different medical conditions. These may include kidney failure, breathing problems, and diabetes complications.

  • Risks
    • There is very little risk involved with having your blood taken. Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Taking blood from some people may be more difficult than from others.

      Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:

      • Excessive bleeding
      • Fainting or feeling lightheaded
      • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
      • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)
  • References
    • McPherson RA, Pincus MR. Disease/organ panels. McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:appendix 7.