Serum chloride measurement is used to assess acid-base balance, electrolyte control, and the body's hydration status.
Chloride (Cl- chloride) is the main anion of extracellular fluid. Chloride levels are inversely related to those of bicarbonates, thus reflecting the acid-base state. Chloride has various functions, including maintaining neutrality by neutralizing cations such as sodium (NaCl, HCl), acting as an element of the pH-regulatory system, assisting in digestion and also helping to maintain osmotic pressure and aqueous phase balance. As chloride is often found in combination with sodium, changes in sodium levels lead to corresponding changes in chloride levels.
Patients with elevated levels of chloride (hyperchloremia) may develop weakness, deep and rapid breathing, drowsiness and lethargy which may develop into coma. Patients with hypochloremia or reduced serum chloride concentration may develop muscle hypertension, tetanus and shallow breathing. Chloride hematology is often performed as part of screening laboratory tests. It may also be needed to control patients who have prolonged vomiting or diarrhea or weakness.
Possible Interpretations of Pathological Values
- Increase: Acute renal failure, alcoholism, anemia, heart failure, Cushing's syndrome, dehydration, diabetes mellitus, eclampsia, saline overdose, hyperparathyroidism, hyperacetic acidosis, metabolic acidosis, hyperventilation. Medications: Acetazolamide, ammonium chloride, androgens, boric acid, cholestyramine, cyclosporin, estrogens, glucocorticoids, imipenem-silastatin, methyldopa, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, phylloablazobenzoil
Decrease: Acute infections, Addison's disease, adrenal cortex deficiency, burns, chronic renal failure, congestive heart failure, diabetic acidosis, diarrhea, sweating, heat exhaustion, hypokalemia, hyponatraemia, pyloric obstruction, ulcerative colitis, vomiting. Medications: Aldosterone, amiloride, boomethanide, corticosteroids, corticotropin, dextrose infusions, ectacrinic acid, furosemide, anchor diuretics, prednisolone, sodium bicarbonate, spironolactone
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.