Chloride is a type of electrolyte. It works with other electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, and carbon dioxide (CO2) to help keep the proper balance of body fluids and maintain the body's acid-base balance.
This article discusses the laboratory test to measures the amount of chloride in the fluid portion (serum) of the blood.
Serum chloride test
A blood sample is needed. For information on how this is done, see: Venipuncture.
Your doctor may tell you to temporarily stop taking certain drugs that can affect test results.
Drugs that may increase serum chloride measurements include:
Drugs that may lower serum chloride measurements include:
Never stop taking medication without first talking to your doctor.
Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of a disturbance in your body's fluid level or acid-base balance.
This test is usually ordered along with other blood tests, such as a basic or comprehensive metabolic panel.
A typical normal range is 96 - 106 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L).
Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of 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.
A greater-than-normal level of chloride is called hyperchloremia. It may be due to:
A lower-than-normal level of chloride is called hypochloremia. It may be due to:
This test may also be done to help rule out or diagnose:
There is very little risk involved with having your blood taken. Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Taking blood from some people may be more difficult than from others.
Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:
DuBose TD Jr. Disorders of acid-base balance. In: Brenner BM, ed. Brenner and Rector's The Kidney. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2008:chap 14.
Seifter JL. Acid-base disorders. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 119.