What is a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP)?
A comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) is a routine blood test that measures 14 different substances in a sample of your blood. It provides important information about your metabolism (how your body uses food and energy) and the balance of certain chemicals in your body.
A CMP includes tests that measure your blood levels of:
- Glucose, also called "blood sugar." Glucose is your body's main source of energy.
- Calcium. This is one of the most important minerals in your body. Most of it is stored in your bones and teeth. Having the right amount of calcium in your blood is necessary for your nerves, muscles, and heart to work properly.
- Sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, and chloride. These are electrolytes, electrically charged minerals that help control the amount of fluid in your body. They also help control the balance of acids and bases (pH balance) in your body.
- Albumin. This is the main protein in your blood. It's made in your liver.
- Total protein. This is the total amount of protein in your blood. It includes albumin and globulins, which are mainly made in your liver.
- ALP (alkaline phosphatase), ALT (alanine transaminase), and AST (aspartate aminotransferase). These are types of enzymes that are mainly made in your liver. Enzymes are proteins that speed up certain chemical reactions in your body.
- Bilirubin. This is a waste product your body makes when it breaks down old red blood cells. Your liver removes most of the bilirubin from your body.
- BUN (blood urea nitrogen) and creatinine. These are waste products that your kidneys filter out of your blood and remove from your body through urine (pee).
Other names: chem 14, chemistry panel, chemistry screen, metabolic panel
What is it used for?
A CMP is commonly used as part of a routine checkup. It can provide information about your overall health and help find certain conditions before you have symptoms. For example, a CMP can check your:
- Liver and kidney health
- Blood glucose
- Protein levels
- Fluid and electrolyte balance, which can affect the acid-base balance in your blood
A CMP may also be used to help:
- Diagnose the cause of certain symptoms you may have
- Guide treatment for many diseases
- Check to see if treatment is working and/or if it's causing certain side effects
Why do I need a CMP?
Your health care provider may order a CMP as part of a routine checkup. You may also need this test if you:
- Have signs or symptoms that could be caused by liver or kidney disease, or metabolic disorders
- Have a general symptom, such as fatigue, that could be caused by many different types of conditions
- Had an abnormal CMP result in the past
- Are being treated for certain medical conditions and your provider wants to find out if your treatment is working and/or affecting your liver or kidneys
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 several 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?
The results of your CMP test will usually list the levels of each of the 14 substances that were measured. To understand what your results mean, your provider will compare all the results. Your provider will also consider your health history, any medicines you take, and other things that could affect your test results. Ask your provider to explain what your CMP results say about your health.
In general, if you have one or more results that aren't normal, it may be a sign of a health condition. For example, high blood glucose may be a sign of diabetes. You will likely need more tests to confirm or rule out a specific diagnosis.
If you have questions about your results, talk with your provider.
Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.
Is there anything else I need to know about a CMP?
Another test called a basic metabolic panel (BMP) is similar to a CMP. A BMP includes 8 of the 14 tests that are part of a CMP. A BMP does not include a measurement of:
- Total protein
- Liver enzymes (ALP, ALT, and AST)
Your provider may choose a CMP or a BMP, depending on your health history and needs.
- Cleveland Clinic: Health Library [Internet]. Cleveland (OH): Cleveland Clinic; c2023. Diagnostics & Testing: Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP); [reviewed 2021 Nov 9; cited 2023 May 28]; [about 16 screens]. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/22058-comprehensive-metabolic-panel-cmp
- Cleveland Clinic: Health Library [Internet]. Cleveland (OH): Cleveland Clinic; c2023. Diagnostics & Testing: Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP); [reviewed 2021 Nov 4; cited 2023 May 28]; [about 15 screens]. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/22020-basic-metabolic-panel-bmp#
- Clinical Info HIV.gov [Internet]. Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; HIV/AIDS Glossary: Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP); [cited 2023 May 28]; [about 1 screen]. Available from: https://clinicalinfo.hiv.gov/en/glossary/comprehensive-metabolic-panel-cmp
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- UF Health: University of Florida Health [Internet]. Gainesville (FL): University of Florida Health; c2023. Comprehensive metabolic panel: Overview; [reviewed 2021 Jan 24; cited 2023 May 22]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://ufhealth.org/comprehensive-metabolic-panel
- University of Rochester Medical Center [Internet]. Rochester (NY): University of Rochester Medical Center; c2023. Health Encyclopedia: Comprehensive Metabolic Panel; [cited 2023 May 22]; [about 5 screens]. Available from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=comprehensive_metabolic_panel
- UW Health [Internet]. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority; c2023. Health Information: Comprehensive Metabolic Panel; [updated 2022 Sep 8; cited 2023 May 22]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://patient.uwhealth.org/healthwise/article/en-us/tr6153
- UW Health [Internet]. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority; c2023. Health Information: Total Serum Protein; [updated 2022 Sep 8; cited 2023 May 22]; [about 4 screens]. Available from: https://patient.uwhealth.org/healthwise/article/en-us/hw43614