Blood urea nitrogen; Renal insufficiency - BUN; Renal failure - BUN; Renal disease - BUN
BUN stands for blood urea nitrogen. Urea nitrogen is what forms when protein breaks down.
A test can be done to measure the amount of urea nitrogen in the blood.
A blood sample is needed. Most of the time blood is drawn from a vein located on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand.
Many medicines can interfere with blood test results.
You may feel slight pain or a sting when the needle is inserted. You may also feel some throbbing at the site after the blood is drawn.
The BUN test is often done to check kidney function.
The normal result is generally 6 to 20 mg/dL.
Note: Normal values may vary among different labs. Talk to your provider about your specific test results.
The examples above show the common measurements for results for these tests. Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.
Higher-than-normal level may be due to:
Lower-than-normal level may be due to:
For people with liver disease, the BUN level may be low even if the kidneys are normal.
Landry DW, Bazari H. Approach to the patient with renal disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 106.
Oh MS, Breifel G, Pincus MR. Evaluation of renal function, water, electrolytes, and acid-base balance. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 15.
Weisbord SD, Palevsky PM. Prevention and management of acute kidney injury. In: Yu ASL, Chertow GM, Luyckx VA, Marsden PA, Skorecki K, Taal MW, eds. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 29.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 5/1/2021
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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