Test Catalog

Test ID: CL    
Chloride, Serum

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Evaluation of water, electrolyte, and acid-base status

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

Chloride is the major anion in the extracellular water space; its physiological significance is in maintaining proper body water distribution, osmotic pressure, and normal anion-cation balance in the extracellular fluid compartment.


Chloride is increased in dehydration, renal tubular acidosis (hyperchloremia metabolic acidosis), acute renal failure, metabolic acidosis associated with prolonged diarrhea and loss of sodium bicarbonate, diabetes insipidus, adrenocortical hyperfunction, salicylate intoxication, and with excessive infusion of isotonic saline or extremely high dietary intake of salt. Hyperchloremia acidosis may be a sign of severe renal tubular pathology.


Chloride is decreased in overhydration, chronic respiratory acidosis, salt-losing nephritis, metabolic alkalosis, congestive heart failure, Addisonian crisis, certain types of metabolic acidosis, persistent gastric secretion and prolonged vomiting, aldosteronism, bromide intoxication, syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion, and conditions associated with expansion of extracellular fluid volume.

Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

1-17 years: 102-112 mmol/L

> or =18 years: 98-107 mmol/L

Reference values have not been established for patients who are under 12 months of age.

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

In normal individuals, serum chloride values vary little during the day, although there is a slight decrease after meals due to the diversion of chloride to the production of gastric juice.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

High serum values of other halide ions may lead to falsely high readings on the chloride ion-selective electrode.

Clinical Reference Recommendations for in-depth reading of a clinical nature

Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry. Edited by CA Burtis, ER Ashwood. WB Saunders Company, Philadelphia, PA, 1994