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Chloride Blood Test

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KEY POINTS

  • The chloride blood test measures a chemical called chloride in your child’s body. It can help diagnose problems with the kidneys, adrenal glands, digestive system, muscles, and nerves, or to check how well treatment is working.
  • A small amount of blood is taken from a heel stick on an infant or from a vein in your child’s arm with a needle and sent to a lab.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about what the test results mean and ask any questions you have.

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What is the chloride blood test?

This test measures the amount of chloride in your child’s blood. Chloride is one of several chemicals in the blood called electrolytes. Electrolytes help control the amount of fluid in your child’s body and the way the muscles, nerves, and organs work. Your child needs the right balance of chloride and other electrolytes in his body to stay healthy. The balance of electrolytes in the body can be affected by food, medicines, drinking too much or too little water, or problems with your child’s lungs, kidneys, and other organs.

Salt is often the main source of chloride in the diet.

Why is this test done?

The chloride level is usually measured along with several other electrolytes to help diagnose certain diseases or conditions. The test can be helpful for checking problems with the kidneys, adrenal glands, digestive system, muscles, and nerves.

This test may also be done to see how well treatment for a disease or condition is working.

How do I prepare my child for this test?

  • Your child may need to avoid taking certain medicines before the test because they might affect the test result. Make sure your child’s healthcare provider knows about any medicines, herbs, or supplements that your child is taking. Ask your provider before stopping any of your child’s regular medicines.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any questions about the test.

How is the test done?

Your child's healthcare provider makes a tiny cut in the baby's heel to get a small amount of blood to test. A small amount of blood is taken from a vein in your child’s arm with a needle. The blood is collected in tubes and sent to a lab.

Ask your healthcare provider when and how you will get the result of your child’s test.

What does the test result mean?

Some of the reasons your child’s blood level of chloride may be higher than normal are:

  • Your child has a lot of salt in his diet.
  • Your child has been drinking enough fluids to replace fluid he has lost through blood loss, sweat, or urine.
  • Your child’s body is making too much parathyroid hormone, which is a hormone that normally helps keep electrolytes in balance.
  • Your child has kidney disease.
  • Your child is taking medicines that increase his chloride level.

Some of the reasons your child’s blood level of chloride may be lower than normal are:

  • Your child has been vomiting or has had diarrhea for a long time.
  • Your child is taking medicines that lower his chloride level.

What if my child’s test result is not normal?

Test results are only one part of a larger picture that takes into account your child’s medical history and current health. Sometimes a test needs to be repeated to check the first result. Talk to your healthcare provider about the result and ask questions, such as:

  • If your child needs more tests
  • What kind of treatment your child might need
  • What lifestyle, diet, or other changes your child might need to make
Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2016.4 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2015-03-25
Last reviewed: 2015-03-24
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright © 2016 RelayHealth, a division of McKesson Technologies Inc. All rights reserved.
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