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Serum Osmolality

What Affects the Test

Results from a serum osmolality test may be affected by:

  • Drinking alcohol right before the test.
  • Recently receiving a blood transfusion.

What To Think About

  • Serum osmolality can be calculated by measuring the amounts of sodium, glucose, and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) in the blood.
  • The osmolality of urine may be measured and compared to blood osmolality. This can help determine how well the kidneys are working.
  • Sometimes the level of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) increases even though the amount of chemicals in the blood is normal. This is called syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH). It is sometimes seen in people who use some types of medicine or who have lung disease, cancer, or diseases of the brain and spinal cord. Serum osmolality levels can check to see if SIADH is present.

Citations

  1. Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Other Works Consulted

  • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.

  • Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Alan C. Dalkin, MD - Endocrinology
Current as of March 18, 2013
1 | 2 | 3

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 18, 2013
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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