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 per day in a 24-hour collection. 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)
- Potassium depletion (from the blood or body)
- 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
- Syndrome of inappropriate ADH secretion (SIADH)
There are no risks with this test.
Segal A, Gennari FJ. Metabolic alkalosis. In: Ronco C, Bellomo R, Kellum JA, Ricci Z, eds. Critical Care Nephrology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 13.
Tolwani AJ, Saha MK, Wille KM. Metabolic acidosis and alkalosis. In: Vincent J-L, Abraham E, Moore FA, Kochanek PM, Fink MP, eds. Textbook of Critical Care. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2017:chap 104.
Review Date 7/4/2019
Updated by: 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, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.