Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Kidney function tests

2-minute read

Your The kidneys are important because they filter waste from your the body and regulate the salts in your the blood. There are many reasons your the kidneys may not work effectively. Kidney function tests can help your doctor check your kidney function and to monitor it over time.

Several blood and urine tests can provide information about your kidney function.

Kidney function tests are also known as renal function or urea and electrolytes (U&E, EUC or UEC) tests.

What is being tested?

The main tests are:

  • creatinine and urea in your blood
  • albumin and creatinine in urine — this is usually described as UACR, or urine albumin: creatinine ratio
  • the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR)

Other tests include:

  • urine tests to measure the by-products of metabolism
  • electrolytes in blood — usually sodium, potassium, chloride or bicarbonate
  • a full blood count

Why would I need this test?

Kidney tests are very important for people who have kidney disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease. Your doctor might request these tests if:

  • they suspect your kidneys are not working properly
  • you have kidney disease and your treatment is being monitored
  • your doctor is concerned about the levels of potassium or other minerals in your blood
  • you are taking medication that might affect your kidneys

How to prepare for this test

No preparation is needed for this test.

Understanding your results

Abnormalities in urea or creatinine levels can indicate both short and long-term problems with the kidneys.

Problems with electrolytes can be caused by a range of conditions, including kidney disease and problems with medication.

It is important to discuss the results with your doctor to see what they mean in your particular situation.

More information

About kidney function tests

Pathology Tests Explained has information about kidney tests.

About blood testing

Visit healthdirect's ‘Guide to blood testing’ to learn more about blood tests in general, with information such as:

  • what to consider before having a test
  • what happens during a blood test
  • results accuracy
  • blood tests and cost

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: October 2020

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

eGFR - Pathology Tests Explained

To determine the function of your kidneys

Read more on Pathology Tests Explained website

Kidney disease - Better Health Channel

Exercise, a balanced diet and not smoking will help to keep your kidneys working well.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Kidney function tests - Pathology Tests Explained

To evaluate kidney function to help diagnose kidney-related disorders.

Read more on Pathology Tests Explained website

Leg cramps -

Leg cramps are a sudden, painful spasm or contraction of a leg muscle. They often happen at night and wake you from sleep. Leg cramps usually get better when you stretch the affected muscles.

Read more on myDr website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.