This test measures the amount of chloride in the blood or serum. Chloride is one of the important chemicals that is found in the body. Changes in chloride levels in the blood are often similar to changes in sodium levels. This is true because chloride, which has a negative electrical charge, balances sodium, which has a positive electrical charge, in most body fluids.
If a healthcare professional suspects one of the conditions that result from too high or too low a level of chloride, he or she may order this test.
A sample of blood is taken from a vein on the forearm or hand. First, the skin over the vein is cleaned with an antiseptic such as alcohol. Next, a rubber tube called a tourniquet is tied around the upper arm. This restricts blood flow in the lower arm veins, causing them to enlarge.
A fine needle is inserted into the vein, and the tourniquet is then untied. Blood flows from the vein through the needle into a vial. After the needle is withdrawn from the vein, the puncture site is covered with a bandage.
No preparation is generally needed for this test.
Normal values for the total amount of chloride in the blood range from 98 to 106 mEq/L (milliequivalents per liter).
Chloride can become too high because of conditions including: dehydrationconditions causing excessive urinationsevere vomiting or diarrheasevere burns
Many things can cause the chloride to become too low including: diuretics, also called water pillskidney diseaseuncontrolled diabetescongestive heart failurecirrhosis of the liververy high protein, triglycerides, or glucose in the blood