The urine chloride test measures the amount of chloride in a certain volume of urine.
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:
- 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.
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
There are no risks with this test.
Batlle D, Chen S, Haque SK. Physiologic principles in the clinical evaluation of electrolyte, water, and acid-base disorders. In: Alpern RJ, Orson WM, Caplan M, eds. Seldin and Giebisch's The Kidney. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2013:chap 74.
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.
Review Date 8/29/2015
Updated 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, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.