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Chloride - urine test

Definition

The urine chloride test measures the amount of chloride in a certain volume of 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 a period of 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 provider will ask you to temporarily stop taking any medicines that may affect the test result. Tell your provider about all the medicines you take, including:

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

DO NOT stop taking any medicine before talking to your provider.

How the Test will Feel

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

Why the Test is Performed

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

Normal Results

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

The examples above are common measurements for results of these tests. Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your provider about the meaning of your specific test result.

What Abnormal Results Mean

A higher 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 level 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

Risks

There are no risks with this test.

References

Batlle D, Chen S, Haque SK. Physiologic principles in the clinical evaluation of electrolyte, water, and acid-base disorders. In: Alpern RJ, Moe OW, Caplan M, eds. Seldin and Giebisch's The Kidney. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 74.

Tolwani AJ, Saha MK, Wille KM. Metabolic acidosis and alkalosis. In: Vincent J-L, Abraham E, Moore FA, Kochanek PM, Fink MP, eds. Textbook of Critical Care. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2017:chap 104.


Review Date: 7/15/2017
Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. 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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