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Chloride - urine test


Definition:

The urine chloride test measures the amount of chloride in urine.

Alternative Names:

Urinary chloride

How the test is performed:

After you provide a urine sample, it is tested in the lab. If needed, the health care provider may ask you to collect your urine at home over 24 hours. Your provider will tell you how to do this. Follow instructions exactly so that the results are accurate.

How to prepare for the test:

Your health care provider will ask you to temporarily stop any medicines that may affect the test results. Be sure to tell your provider about all the medicines you take. These include:

  • Acetazolamide
  • Corticosteroids
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Water pills (diuretic medicines)

Do not stop taking any medicine before talking to your doctor.

How the test will feel:

The test involves only normal urination. There is no discomfort.

Why the test is performed:

Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of a condition that affects body fluids or acid-base balance.

Normal Values:

The normal range is 110 to 250 (mEq/day). This range depends greatly on the amount of salt and fluid you take in.

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

What abnormal results mean:

Ahigher than normal urine chloride level may be due to:

  • Low function of the adrenal glands  
  • Inflammation of the kidney that results in salt loss (salt-losing nephropathy)
  • Production of an unusually large amount of urine (polyuria)
  • Too much salt in the diet 

Decreased urine chloride levels may be due to:

  • Body holding in too much salt (sodium retention)
  • Cushing syndrome
  • Decreased salt intake
  • Fluid loss that occurs with diarrhea, vomiting, sweating, and gastric suction
What the risks are:

There are no risks with this test.

References:

Gerber GS, Brendler CB. Evaluation of the urologic patient: history, physical examination, and urinalysis. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Novick AC, et al., eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 3.

McPherson RA, Ben-Ezra J. Basic examination of urine. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry’s Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 28.


Review Date: 8/25/2013
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, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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