A basic metabolic panel (BMP) is a set of eight tests that gives information about:
A BMP is commonly ordered as part of routine medical exam or physical. It's also often ordered for emergency room patients because it can provide information on medical problems causing chemical imbalances in the body that may need immediate attention.
The BMP evaluates:
The BMP may be performed without any preparation in an emergency, or it may be done after fasting. Your child may be asked to stop eating and drinking for 8 to 12 hours before this blood test.
On the day of the test, it may help to have your child wear a short-sleeve shirt to allow easier access for the technician who will be drawing the blood.
A health professional will usually draw the blood from a vein. For an infant, the blood may be obtained by puncturing the heel with a small needle (lancet). If the blood is being drawn from a vein, the skin surface is cleaned with antiseptic, and an elastic band (tourniquet) is placed around the upper arm to apply pressure and cause the vein to swell with blood. A needle is inserted into a vein (usually in the arm inside of the elbow or on the back of the hand) and blood is withdrawn and collected in a vial or syringe.
After the procedure, the elastic band is removed. Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed and the area is covered with cotton or a bandage to stop the bleeding. The entire test will only take a few minutes.
Either method (heel or vein withdrawal) of collecting a sample of blood is only temporarily uncomfortable and can feel like a quick pinprick. Afterward, there may be some mild bruising, which should go away in a few days.
The blood sample will be processed by a machine. Parts of a BMP may be available in minutes in an emergency, but more commonly, the full test results come after a few hours or the next day.
If any of the BMP results appear to be abnormal, further testing may be necessary to determine what's causing the problem and how to treat it.
The BMP test is considered a safe procedure. However, as with many medical tests, some problems can occur with having blood drawn, such as:
Having a blood test is relatively painless. Still, many kids are afraid of needles. Explaining the test in terms your child can understand might help ease some of the fear.
Allow your child to ask the technician any questions he or she might have. Tell your child to try to relax and stay still during the procedure, as tensing muscles and moving can make it harder and more painful to draw blood. It also may help if your child looks away when the needle is being inserted into the skin.
If you have questions about the BMP test, speak with your doctor.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: February 2011
|National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases This group conducts and supports research on many serious diseases affecting public health.|
|National Kidney Foundation (NKF) NKF seeks to prevent kidney and urinary tract diseases, improve the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by these diseases, and increase the availability of all organs for transplantation.|
|American Medical Association (AMA) The AMA has made a commitment to medicine by making doctors more accessible to their patients. Contact the AMA at: American Medical Association|
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|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|American Diabetes Association (ADA) The ADA website includes news, information, tips, and recipes for people with diabetes.|
|American Society of Hematology This group provides information relating to blood, blood-forming tissues, and blood diseases.|
|Chronic Kidney Diseases Kidneys are about the size of your fist and shaped like beans. What happens when this important pair of organs doesn't work well? Find out in this article for kids.|
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|Calcium and Your Child Milk and other calcium-rich foods help build strong, healthy bones. But more than 85% of girls and 60% of boys don't get enough calcium each day.|
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|Diabetes Center Our Diabetes Center provides information and advice for teens about treating and living with diabetes.|
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|Diabetes Center Does your child have type 1 or type 2 diabetes? Learn how to manage the disease and keep your child healthy.|
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|Getting a Blood Test (Video) A blood test might sound scary, but it usually takes less than a minute. Watch what happens in this video for kids.|
|Hypoglycemia When blood glucose levels drop too low, it's called hypoglycemia. Very low blood sugar levels can cause severe symptoms that require immediate treatment.|
|Kidneys and Urinary Tract The kidneys perform several functions that are essential to health, the most important of which are to filter blood and produce urine.|
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