Chloride is a type of electrolyte. It works with other electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, and carbon dioxide (CO2). These substances help keep the proper balance of body fluids and maintain the body's acid-base balance.
This article is about the laboratory test used to measure the amount of chloride in the fluid portion (serum) of the blood.
Serum chloride test
How the test is performed
A blood sample is needed. Most of the time blood is drawn from a vein located on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand.
How to prepare for the test
Many medicines can interfere with blood test results.
Your health care provider will tell you if you need to stop taking any medicines before you have this test.
Do not stop or change your medications without talking to your doctor first.
Why the test is performed
Your doctor may order this test if you have signs that your body's fluid level or acid-base balance is disturbed.
This test is usually ordered with other blood tests, such as a basic or comprehensive metabolic panel.
A typical normal range is 96 - 106 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L).
Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
The example above shows the common measurement range for results for these tests. Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.
What abnormal results mean
A greater-than-normal level of chloride is called hyperchloremia. It may be due to:
Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (used to treat glaucoma)
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.