Urea test

Other names: Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) Test

Urea is produced during the breakdown of proteins; in healthy individuals, the kidneys process and eliminate more than 90 percent of the urea produced in the body. The blood urea nitrogen test helps to evaluate kidney function.

When is the test used?

Urea tests are carried out to evaluate kidney function.

The test may be ordered when a patient has non-specific symptoms, which may indicate a kidney problem. The test may also be ordered for patients who have been diagnosed with kidney problems and are receiving dialysis treatment. The test may also be carried out to monitor a patient’s kidney function if they start a course of medication.

How is the test performed?

The test is carried out by collecting and analysing a sample of the patient’s blood; the sample is collected using a needle and a syringe. A needle is inserted into a vein in the arm and the blood is collected in the syringe. Once the sample has been collected, the blood is bottled, labelled and sent to the laboratory for testing.

What do the test results show?

If the test results show that urea levels are higher than normal, this may indicate that the kidneys are not working effectively; this could be caused by either acute or chronic kidney disease but it may also be due to other factors, including shock, stress, congestive heart failure, severe burns or a heart attack.

Low levels of urea are rare and are not usually a cause for concern. Levels of urea may be slightly lower than normal during pregnancy.

Specific Blood Tests

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