Chloride Test

Other names: CL

Chloride is an electrolyte which helps to regulate the acid-base balance in the body. Chloride also helps to maintain water levels in the body, along with sodium. Chloride is taken into the body through our diet; most of it is absorbed into the gastrointestinal tract. Chloride levels usually change in relation to sodium levels; levels may change without change to sodium if there is problem with the body’s acid-base balance.

Why is the test used?

The test is used to measure the levels of chloride in the blood and test for imbalances in the acid-base ratio in the body. The test is usually ordered for patients with symptoms of acid-base or electrolyte imbalances. The test may also be used to test kidney function and measure the efficacy of treatments.

How is the test done?

The test is performed by taking a sample of blood from a vein in the arm. A needle is inserted into the vein and the blood is collected in a syringe; once the sample has been taken, the blood will be bottled, labelled with the patient’s name and sent away to the laboratory for analysis.

A urine sample may also be used for this test.

What do the test results show?

A significant elevation of chloride levels may indicate a serious electrolyte imbalance.

Increased levels of chloride (known as hyperchloraemia) may be caused by dehydration but may also be linked to conditions which are caused by high sodium levels in the bloodstream. High levels of chloride may also be caused by a loss of alkaline fluid from the body.

Decreased levels of chloride (known as hypochloraemia) are associated with conditions which cause low levels of sodium in the blood. Low levels of chloride may also be associated with persistent vomiting or diarrhoea, chronic lung disease and emphysema.

Specific Blood Tests

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