Blood Chemistry Tests

Blood chemistry tests or panels are groups of tests that measure many chemical substances in the blood that are released from body tissues or are produced during the breakdown (metabolism) of certain substances. These tests are performed on a blood sample.

Blood Chemistry Tests.

Blood chemistry test Substances measured
electrolyte panel (1) sodium




kidney function tests blood urea nitrogen (BUN)


liver function tests alanine aminotransferase (ALT)

alkaline phosphatase (ALP)

aspartate transaminase (AST)



total protein

basic metabolic panel (BMP) (2) glucose


electrolyte panel

kidney function

comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) glucose


electrolyte panel

kidney function

liver function

When is a Blood Chemistry test Indicated ?

A blood chemistry test may be done to:

  • evaluate a person’s general health status
  • evaluate organ function
  • evaluate the body’s electrolyte balance
  • identify potential organ damage or injury
  • identify damaged tissues that secrete chemicals into the blood


A blood chemistry test is usually done in a private laboratory or hospital laboratory. Preparation depends on the type of test being done.

  • Fasting overnight may be required, especially if certain chemicals (such as glucose or lipid levels) are being tested.
  • Blood is usually taken from a vein in the arm.
  • A tourniquet or elastic band is wrapped around the upper arm to apply pressure to the area and make the vein swell.
  • The person may be asked to open and close the fist to make the veins stand out more.
  • The skin is cleaned and disinfected.
  • A needle is inserted into the vein and a small amount of blood is removed.
    • The person will feel a prick or stinging sensation.
  • The sample is collected in a tube and labelled with the person’s name and other identifying information.
  • The tourniquet is removed and the needle is withdrawn.
    • Mild discomfort may be felt when the needle is withdrawn.
  • Pressure is applied to the area where the needle was inserted until bleeding stops.
  • A band aid may be applied.
  • For some tests, the blood sample is allowed to clot and the clear yellow fluid (serum) that forms above the clot is carefully separated and removed for analysis.
  • The sample is sent to a laboratory to be analyzed by special machines, examined under a microscope or both.

Potential side effects

Potential side effects of having a blood chemistry test include:

  • bleeding
  • bruising
  • infection

Other complementary blood Tests

Complete Blood Count

The CBC (complete blood count) is common blood tests. These tests are often done as part of a routine checkup. The CBC can help detect blood diseases and disorders, such as anemia, infections, clotting problems, blood cancers, and immune system disorders. This test measures many different parts of one’s blood. A CBC measures the overall number of white blood cells in your blood. A CBC with differential looks at the amounts of different types of white blood cells in your blood. Including, but not limited to Platelets. (See terms for definitions)

Blood Enzyme Tests

Enzymes are chemicals that help control chemical reactions in your body. There are many blood enzyme tests. This section focuses on blood enzyme tests used to check for heart attack. These include troponin and creatine (KRE-ah-teen) kinase (CK) tests. Troponin is a muscle protein that helps your muscles contract. When muscle or heart cells are injured, troponin leaks out, and its levels in your blood rise. For example, blood levels of troponin rise when you have a heart attack. For this reason, doctors often order troponin tests when patients have chest pain or other heart attack signs and symptoms. Creatine Kinase A blood product called CK-MB is released when the heart muscle is damaged. High levels of CK-MB in the blood can mean that you’ve had a heart attack.

 Blood Clotting Tests (Coagulation Panel)

 These tests check proteins in your blood that affect the blood clotting process. Abnormal test results might suggest that you’re at risk of bleeding or developing clots in your blood vessels.Your doctor may recommend these tests if he or she thinks you have a disorder or disease related to blood clotting. Blood clotting tests also are used to monitor people who are taking medicines to lower the risk of blood clots. Warfarin and heparin are two examples of such medicines.

References & Sources

(1). Typically, tests for electrolytes measure levels of sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate in the body. Sodium plays a major role in regulating the amount of water in the body. Also, the passage of sodium in and out of cells is necessary for many body functions, like transmitting electrical signals in the brain and in the muscles. The sodium levels are measured to detect whether there’s the right balance of sodium and liquid in the blood to carry out those functions. If a child becomes dehydrated (from vomiting, diarrhea, or other causes), the sodium levels can be too high or low, which can cause confusion, weakness, lethargy, and even seizures. Potassium is essential to regulating how the heart beats. Potassium levels that are too high or too low can increase the risk of an abnormal heartbeat (also called arrhythmias). Low potassium levels are also associated with muscle weakness and cramps. Chloride, like sodium, helps maintain a balance of fluids in the body. Certain medical problems like dehydration, heart disease, kidney disease, or other illnesses can disrupt the balance of chloride. Testing chloride in these situations helps the doctor tell whether an acid-base imbalance is happening in the body. Bicarbonate prevents the body’s tissues from getting too much or too little acid. The kidney and lungs balance the levels of bicarbonate in the body. So if bicarbonate levels are too high or low, it might indicate a problem with those organs.
(2). The basic metabolic panel (BMP) is a group of tests that measures different chemicals in the blood. These tests usually are done on the fluid (plasma) part of blood. The tests can give doctors information about your muscles (including the heart), bones, and organs, such as the kidneys and liver. The BMP includes blood glucose, calcium, and electrolyte tests, as well as blood tests that measure kidney function. Some of these tests require you to fast (not eat any food) before the test, and others don’t. Your doctor will tell you how to prepare for the test(s) you’re having.


Disclaimer: Nothing in this education site should be construed as medical advise
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