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Chloride (Cl)

How It Feels

Blood test

The blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm. An elastic band is wrapped around your upper arm. It may feel tight. You may feel nothing at all from the needle, or you may feel a quick sting or pinch.

Urine test

There is no pain while collecting a 24-hour urine sample.

Risks

Blood test

There is very little chance of a problem from having blood sample taken from a vein.

  • You may get a small bruise at the site. You can lower the chance of bruising by keeping pressure on the site for several minutes.
  • In rare cases, the vein may become swollen after the blood sample is taken. This problem is called phlebitis. A warm compress can be used several times a day to treat this.
  • Ongoing bleeding can be a problem for people with bleeding disorders. Aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), and other blood-thinning medicines can make bleeding more likely. If you have bleeding or clotting problems, or if you take blood-thinning medicine, tell your doctor before your blood sample is taken.

Urine test

There is no chance for problems while collecting a 24-hour urine sample.

Results

A chloride test measures the level of chloride in your blood or urine. Chloride is one of the most important electrolytes in the blood, along with sodium, potassium, and calcium. Chloride helps keep the amount of fluid inside and outside of your cells in balance.

Normal

The normal values listed here—called a reference range—are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what’s normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab. Blood chloride levels are checked more often than urine chloride levels. Results are usually available in 1 to 2 days.

Chloride in blood1
Adult:

96–106 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L)[96–106 millimoles per liter (mmol/L)]

Newborn:

96–113 mEq/L (96–113 mmol/L)

 

Chloride in urine1
Adult:

140–250 mEq per 24 hours (140–250 mmol per day)

Child (10–14 years):

64–176 mEq/24 hours (64–176 mmol/day)

Child (younger than 6 years):

15–40 mEq/24 hours (15–40 mmol/day)

Abnormal

High chloride levels may be caused by:

Low chloride levels may be caused by:

  • Conditions that cause too much water to build up in the body, such as with syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH).
  • Addison's disease.
  • A condition that raises the pH of the blood above the normal range (metabolic alkalosis).
  • Heart failure.
  • Ongoing vomiting.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 26, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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