Sunday, August 26, 2007

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)

The Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) is typically a group of 14 specific tests that have been approved, named, and assigned a CPT code (a Current Procedural Terminology number) as a panel by Medicare (although labs may adjust the number of tests up or down). Since the majority of insurance companies also use these names and CPT codes in their claim processing, this grouping of tests has become standardized throughout the United States. The CMP is a frequently ordered panel that gives your doctor important information about the current status of your kidneys, liver, and electrolyte and acid/base balance as well as of your blood sugar and blood proteins. Abnormal results, and especially combinations of abnormal results, can indicate a problem that needs to be addressed.

The CMP is used as a broad screening tool to evaluate organ function and check for conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, and kidney disease. The CMP may also be ordered to monitor known conditions, such as hypertension, and to monitor patients taking specific medications for any kidney- or liver-related side effects. If your doctor is interested in following two or more individual CMP components, he may order the entire CMP because it offers more information.
The CMP is routinely ordered as part of a blood work-up for a medical exam or yearly physical and is collected by inserting a needle into a vein in your arm. Although it may be performed on a random basis, the CMP sample is usually collected after a 10 to 12 hour fast (no food or liquids other than water). While the individual tests are sensitive, they do not usually tell your doctor specifically what is wrong. Abnormal test results or groups of test results are usually followed-up with other specific tests to confirm or rule out a suspected diagnosis.

The CMP includes:

  • Glucose
  • Calcium
    Both increased and decreased levels can be significant.
  • Proteins
    • Albumin
    • Total Protein
      Albumina, a small protein produced in the liver, is the major protein in
      serum. Total protein measures albumin as well as all other proteins in
      serum. Both increases and decreases in these test results can be
  • Electrolytes
    • Sodium
    • Potassium
    • CO2 (carbon dioxide, bicarbonate)
    • Chloride
      The concentrations of sodium and potassium are tightly regulated by the body as is the balance between the four tests. Electrolyte (and acid-base)imbalances can be present with a wide variety of acute and chronic illnesses. Chloride and CO2 tests are rarely ordered by themselves.
  • Kidney Tests
    • BUN (blood urea nitrogen)
    • Creatinine
      BUN and Creatinine are waste products filtered out of the blood by the kidneys. Increased concentrations in the blood may indicate a temporary or chronic decrease in kidney function. When not ordered as part of the CMP, they are still usually ordered together.


  1. S1Thomas, Clayton L., Editor (1997). Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary. F.A. Davis Company, Philadelphia, PA [18th Edition].
  2. S2Pagana, Kathleen D. & Pagana, Timothy J. (2001). Mosby’s Diagnostic and Laboratory Test Reference 5th Edition: Mosby, Inc., Saint Louis, MO.
  3. S3American Medical Association (2002). Current Procedural Terminology, cpt 2002, Standard Edition.

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