Chloride - urine test

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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.

Special considerations

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.

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 8/25/2013
  • 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.

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This page was last updated: May 20, 2014

         
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