Medical Tests of Kidney Function
Healthy kidneys remove wastes and excess fluid from the blood. Blood tests
show whether the kidneys are failing to remove wastes. Urine tests can show how
quickly body wastes are being removed and whether the kidneys are also leaking
abnormal amounts of protein.
Creatinine (kree-AT-uh-nin) is a waste product that comes
from meat protein in the diet and also comes from the normal wear and tear on
muscles of the body. Creatinine levels in the blood can vary, and each
laboratory has its own normal range. In many labs the normal range is 0.6 to
1.2 mg/dl. Higher levels may be a sign that the kidneys are not working
properly. As kidney disease progresses, the level of creatinine in the blood
Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)
Urea nitrogen (yoo-REE-uh NY-truh-jen) also is produced from
the breakdown of food protein. A normal BUN level is between 7 and 20 mg/dl. As
kidney function decreases, the BUN level increases.
Some urine tests require only a few ounces of urine. But
some tests require collection of all urine produced for a full 24 hours. A
24-hour urine test shows how much urine your kidneys produce in 1 day. The test
also can give an accurate measurement of how much protein leaks from the kidney
into the urine in 1 day.
A creatinine clearance test compares the creatinine in a
24-hour sample of urine to the creatinine level in the blood, to show how many
milliliters of blood the kidneys are filtering out each minute (ml/min).
For More Information
American Kidney Fund
6110 Executive Boulevard
Rockville, MD 20852
National Kidney Foundation
30 East 33rd Street
New York, NY 10016
Additional Information on Medical Tests of Kidney Function
The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information
Clearinghouse collects resource information on kidney and urologic diseases for
the Combined Health Information Database (CHID). CHID is a database produced by
health-related agencies of the Federal Government. This database provides
titles, abstracts, and availability information for health information and
health education resources.
To provide you with the most up-to-date resources,
information specialists at the clearinghouse created an automatic search of
CHID. Or, if you wish to perform your own search of the database, you may
access the CHID Online web site ( http://chid.nih.gov ) and search CHID