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USMLE Step 1

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Lab Diagrams

BMP (Chem7) Fishbone

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The Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP), also called the Chem7, or simply the Electrolyte Panel, includes a set of 7 laboratory values widely monitored in the serum/plasma of patients. These values are usually presented in a "fishbone" diagram.

Moving from left to right, the lab on the top left is sodium, which primarily functions as a measure of water balance in the body.

Below on the bottom left is potassium, which is critically important to monitor, as small changes can dramatically affect heart and muscle function.

The second column includes anions. On top is chlorine, which plays a nuanced role in determining acid/base status.

Below in the second column is bicarbonate. Bicarbonate primarily serves as a surrogate for carbon dioxide levels in the blood, and is useful in the determination of acid/base status.

The third column includes labs primarily useful for determining renal function. On top is blood urea nitrogen (BUN), while below is creatinine. Urea and creatinine are waste products typically removed by the kidney, and elevations in these lab values can be a sign of kidney failure.

On the far right is glucose, which is measured for obvious reasons in diabetics and most patients.

Find this BMP Fishbone Diagram Mnemonic and more Lab Diagram mnemonics among Pixorize's visual mnemonics for the USMLE Step 1 and NBME Shelf Exams.