An electrolyte panel is a blood test to measure electrolytes (minerals) in blood. An electrolyte imbalance may be a sign of a heart, lung or kidney problem. Dehydration also causes electrolyte imbalances. Your provider may order an anion gap test along with the electrolyte panel to determine why certain electrolyte levels are too high or low.
An electrolyte panel is a blood test that measures the levels of seven electrolytes in your blood. Certain conditions, including dehydration, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease, can cause electrolyte levels to become too high or low. This is an electrolyte imbalance.
Other names for an electrolyte panel test include:
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
Electrolytes are minerals found in blood, tissue, urine and other body fluids. You also get electrolytes from foods, drinks and supplements. Electrolytes get their name because they give off an electrical charge when they dissolve in body fluids.
Electrolytes play a critical role in:
You may get an electrolyte panel as part of a routine physical examination, during hospitalization or to determine the cause of certain symptoms.
An electrolyte panel can detect electrolyte imbalances caused by:
Some tests measure only one specific type of electrolyte. Your provider may order this test to confirm or rule out a suspected condition.
An electrolyte panel checks the levels of multiple minerals in your blood, including:
Typically, you don’t have to fast (not eat or drink anything except water) before getting an electrolyte blood test. But your healthcare provider may ask you to fast if the lab will be measuring other substances in your blood sample like cholesterol or blood sugar.
An electrolyte panel is a relatively simple blood draw. The test may take place in a healthcare provider’s office, blood testing lab or hospital. A phlebotomist (a specialist trained in drawing blood) or another provider will take the blood sample.
These steps can help a blood draw go smoothly:
You can take these steps to minimize bruising or discomfort:
A blood test carries little risk. You may experience a drop in blood pressure during a blood draw. Low blood pressure (hypotension) can make you dizzy or nauseous. Tell your provider if you feel unwell or like you might faint. Your provider can take steps, like reclining you backward, to prevent or alleviate these problems.
It may take several days for results to come back from a lab. Your healthcare provider will go over the results with you.
Your age, sex and preexisting health conditions can affect test results. And laboratories often use different methods for measuring electrolytes. This means results can vary from lab to lab.
Labs measure electrolytes by looking at the concentration of the substance in a specific amount of blood. In general, these are the normal ranges for electrolytes:
An electrolyte reading above or below the normal range doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a problem that needs treatment. Depending on your symptoms or preexisting health condition, your provider may order additional tests.
These tests may include:
You may want to ask your provider:
Differences between an electrolyte panel and metabolic panel include:
No. Only trained medical professionals can do a blood draw for an electrolyte blood test.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
An electrolyte panel provides important information about body fluids, including your blood’s acid-base balance. Your healthcare provider may order an electrolyte blood test to diagnose or rule out a condition if you experience symptoms. You may also get an electrolyte panel if you have a condition that causes an electrolyte imbalance. Results from an electrolyte panel help your doctor decide if treatments are working or whether a disease is getting worse.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/07/2022.
Learn more about our editorial process.