The article below covers all the significant topics of renal panel blood tests like renal panel test cost, tests included in the panel, the importance of kidneys, normal range, procedure, preparation, and how to get tested for renal tests.
For our readers, who are more interested in knowing the cost of renal function panel beforehand, we would like to begin with that section.
How much does the renal function panel test cost?
Renal or kidney function panel test cost ranges between $25 and $50 in different labs and facilities across the U.S. The cost of kidney function panel depends on the number of tests included in the panel. To know more about the tests included in the panel and to view and compare the prices in different labs offered by different providers, click the button below.
Renal function panel cost with insurance
Many health insurance policies in the U.S. do not cover the cost of the renal function panel. They might cover the cost only when it is done as a part of the preventative health check-up. However, the coverage offered by private health insurance policies and national health insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid varies widely. So we recommend you to check the coverage of your plan with your insurance company.
Our renal panel testing providers do not accept any kind of health insurance plan. But, if the insurance company accepts to reimburse the cost, they can provide you with an itemized receipt containing all the details like the name and code of the test, and CPT code which is necessary for insurance reimbursement purposes.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, an estimated number of 37 million people in the U.S. are affected by chronic kidney diseases and every 1 in 3 adults is at risk of getting the kidney disease. Kidney disease is the 9th leading cause of death in the United States. As the early-stage kidney diseases do not show any signs or symptoms, we highly recommend you to get tested for renal panel tests at least once a year.
What is a renal panel?
A renal panel is a group of tests performed together to evaluate the overall functioning of the kidney and to detect the causes of kidney dysfunction. These tests help to diagnose kidney diseases by measuring the levels of various substances such as minerals, electrolytes, proteins, and glucose in the blood. If you have been diagnosed with kidney disease earlier, this test will be performed at regular intervals to monitor your kidney condition and to evaluate the effectiveness of the undergoing treatment.
The renal panel is also known as “Kidney panel” or “Kidney function panel”.
Why are the kidney function tests important?
The kidney function tests are very important as they help the physician to diagnose and manage kidney diseases. The kidney is one of the most important organs of our body. Two kidneys are bean-shaped and placed in the upper abdominal cavity, on each side of the spine. They might be small but they play a very important role in managing the overall health condition. Some of the major roles of the kidney are explained below.
- Kidneys help the body to pass the waste as urine.
- They act as a filter extracting all the unwanted toxic substances and waste materials from the food and medications.
- They help in maintaining the overall fluid balance in the body.
- Kidneys help in regulating the blood pressure by maintaining the proper levels of electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, and chloride.
- When the kidneys do not get enough oxygen, it stimulates the bone marrow to produce a hormone called “erythropoietin”. This hormone helps in producing more oxygen-carrying red blood cells.
- Kidneys maintain the pH levels in the body that are responsible for the acid regulation.
- They also help in promoting bone health as bones need vitamin D to absorb calcium and the kidneys are important for the production of vitamin D.
Who is recommended for the renal function tests?
Your physician might recommend the renal function tests if you experience the following symptoms.
- High blood pressure
- Blood in the urine
- Painful urination
- Difficult to urinate
- Frequent urges to urinate
- Swelling in the hands and feet
- Pain in the abdomen
- Itchy skin
- Poor appetite
- Muscle cramps
- Family history of kidney disease
- Kidney stones
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Enlarged prostate
- Heart failure
What are the tests included in the renal panel?
The following are the tests included in the renal panel.
1. BUN or Blood Urea Nitrogen
BUN measures the amount of nitrogen in the blood that comes from the urea, a waste product. The higher levels of BUN indicate poor functioning of the kidneys.
Albumin is one of the major types of protein produced by the liver. This protein prevents the fluid in the blood from leaking into other tissues. Abnormal levels of albumin indicate a problem in the liver or kidneys.
Creatinine is a waste product that comes from the body muscles. Abnormal creatinine levels indicate the improper functioning of the kidneys.
4. Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR)
eGFR is an estimated measurement based on the age, race, sex, and creatinine levels. This measure tells how well the kidneys are functioning. An eGFR below 60 indicates that the kidneys are not functioning properly and an eGFR below 50 indicates kidney failure.
5. BUN to creatinine ratio
BUN to creatinine ratio is calculated based on the BUN levels and creatinine levels. The ratio of BUN to creatinine is usually between 10:1 and 20:1. An increase in the ratio indicates the decrease in the blood flow to the kidneys.
Calcium is a very important mineral necessary for the building of bones, maintaining bone health and helping the blood to clot. Higher calcium levels can create kidney stones.
7. Carbon dioxide
Sodium is an essential electrolyte that controls the fluid balance in and around the cells. High sodium levels indicate kidney disease as the excess levels of sodium are not excreted by the kidney.
Normal range of renal panel
The normal levels of all the tests included in the renal panel are given below.
How are the kidney function panel tests performed?
Renal panel tests are done using a blood sample. During the blood test, a lab technician or a phlebotomist will cleanse the area to be injected with an antiseptic and put an elastic band around the upper arm to make the vein visible and swell with blood. Then, he/she will inject a needle and draw a sample of blood in a test tube. After the blood is drawn, he will ask you to apply pressure on the injected area with a cotton ball to stop bleeding. The collected blood sample is then sent to the lab for analysis.
It takes less than 5 to 10 minutes to perform this test.
Is there any preparation required before the test?
Renal function tests require overnight fasting. Your physician will ask you to fast for 8 to 12 hours (no food, only water) before the test. Other than fasting, no special preparation is required.
Are there any risks in the renal function tests?
There are no possible risks or complications in taking the renal function tests. You may feel dizziness, slight pain or bruise in the injected area for a very little period.
What does the test result interpret?
Renal panel tests are not a definitive diagnostic test. They only indicate the possibility of kidney damage or disease. So some follow-up tests are required based on the test results to confirm the diagnosis. Either of the following tests is ordered for further evaluation.
- CT scan whole abdomen (with or without contrast)
- Ultrasound whole abdomen
- Ultrasound KUB (Kidney, Ureter, and Bladder)
- CT scan KUB
- MRCP (Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography)
Renal panel tests can be done in any of the following locations across the U.S. by visiting the nearest lab. To know the cost of renal panel tests, refer to the first section of the article.
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