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Electrolyte Panel


Topic Overview

An electrolyte panel is a blood test that measures the levels of electrolytes and carbon dioxide in your blood.

Electrolytes are minerals, such as sodium and potassium, that are found in the body. They keep your body's fluids in balance and help keep your body working normally, including your heart rhythm, muscle contraction, and brain function.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is also measured in this test. CO2 is a waste product made when the body breaks down food for energy (metabolism). It takes the form of bicarbonate in the blood, so this part of the test is sometimes called a bicarbonate test. Bicarbonate helps your blood stay at the right pH.

Your doctor may order an electrolyte panel as part of a regular health examination. Your doctor may use this test to check on or diagnose a medical condition. Your doctor can also use an electrolyte panel to see if any medicines that you take have changed your electrolyte levels.

An electrolyte panel measures the blood levels of sodium, potassium, chloride, and carbon dioxide. For more information, see the topics:

References

Other Works Consulted

  • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.

  • Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

  • Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerBrian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Last RevisedJune 16, 2011
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