Chloride

A chloride (Cl) blood test is used to evaluate and help manage acid-base, fluid, and electrolyte imbalances.

Chloride helps regulate the amount of fluid in the body and maintains the acid-base balance. Chloride is present in all body fluids. The highest amount is in the blood and in the fluid outside of the body's cells. Normally, chloride and sodium (Na) rise and fall together.

When there is a problem, blood chloride levels may change independently of sodium. Chloride acts to keep the right balance at the cellular level by moving into or out of the cells as needed. Chloride is taken into the body through food and table salt. Salt is a combination of sodium and chloride. Chloride is absorbed in the small intestines. Any extra chloride is excreted in the urine.

PREPARATION FOR TEST

A blood sample is obtained by inserting a needle into a vein in the arm. Chloride may also be checked in the urine. During a 24 hour urine collection, avoid drinking alcoholic beverages.

NORMAL FINDINGS

  • Adult/elderly blood sample: 98 to 106 mEq/L

  • Child blood sample: 90 to 110 mEq/L

  • Newborn blood sample: 96 to 106 mEq/L

  • Premature infant blood sample: 95 to 110 mEq/L

Ranges for normal findings may vary among different laboratories and hospitals. You should always check with your caregiver after having lab work or other tests done to discuss the meaning of your test results and whether your values are considered within the normal limits.

MEANING OF TEST

Your caregiver will go over the test results with you and discuss the importance and meaning of your results, as well as treatment options and the need for additional tests if necessary.

OBTAINING THE TEST RESULTS

It is your responsibility to obtain your test results. Ask the lab or department performing the test when and how you will get your results.