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Panel-7 Test

What is the panel-7 test?

The panel-7 test involves 7 different tests to measure 7 chemicals in the blood: sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate, glucose, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), and creatinine. Other names for this test are chem-7, chem panel, or electrolyte panel.

Why is this test done?

This test is done to check for:

  • kidney problems
  • acids in your blood
  • a sodium or potassium problem
  • diabetes.

How do I prepare for this test?

  • Your healthcare provider may ask you to fast for several hours before the test. If the test is being done to look for diabetes, it is important not to eat or drink anything except water for 8 to 12 hours before the test.
  • You may need to avoid taking certain medicines before the test because they might affect the test result. Make sure your healthcare provider knows about any medicines, herbs, or supplements that you are taking. Don't stop any of your regular medicines without first consulting with your healthcare provider.

How is the test done?

A small amount of blood is taken from your arm with a needle. The blood is collected in tubes and sent to a lab.

Having this test will take just a few minutes.

How will I get the test results?

Ask your healthcare provider when and how you will get the results of the test.

What do the test results mean?

The levels of these chemicals in your blood can be affected by many conditions. For example:

  • The sodium and chloride test results can be affected by dehydration; medicines you are taking; or kidney, liver, or heart disease.
  • The level of potassium can be affected by medicines you are taking or kidney disease.
  • The level of bicarbonate is affected by lung diseases, kidney problems, and other chemicals (acids) in the blood. (Bicarbonate is a measure of how much carbon dioxide is in the blood.)
  • The blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine test results are affected by kidney problems or dehydration. They can also be affected by medicines you are taking.
  • Your glucose level may be too high if, for example, you have diabetes. It may be too low if you have been drinking a lot of alcohol.

What if my test results are not normal?

Test results are only one part of a larger picture that takes into account your medical history and current health. Sometimes a test needs to be repeated to check the first result. Talk to your healthcare provider about your result and ask questions.

If your test results are not normal, ask your healthcare provider:

  • if you need additional tests
  • what you can do to work toward a normal value
  • when you need to be tested again.
Written by Jonathon Evans, MD.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2011-06-30
Last reviewed: 2011-06-02
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2011 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
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