Have you used a home testing kit for a medical diagnosis?

COVID-19 RATs are an example of these types of tests but we are interested in the many others on the market.

The University of Wollongong is conducting a small study about them and we'd like to hear from you if you have used one or considered using one.

Simply complete a short survey at:

From here, we may invite you to take part in a paid interview.

For more information, contact Dr Patti Shih: pshih@uow.edu.au

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At a glance

Also known as


Why get tested?

To determine if there is a problem with your body’s acid-base balance and to monitor treatment

When to get tested?

If it is possible you have an electrolyte imbalance

Sample required?

A blood sample drawn from a vein in the arm, or a urine sample

Test preparation needed?


What is being tested?

Chloride is an electrolyte. When combined with sodium it is mostly found in nature as ‘salt.’ Chloride is important along with sodium, in keeping normal levels of water in the body. Chloride generally increases or decreases in direct relationship to sodium, but may change without any change in sodium when there are problems with too much acid or base in your body. Chloride is taken into the body through food. Most of the chloride is absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract, and the excess is excreted in urine. The normal blood level remains steady, with a slight drop after meals (because the stomach produces acid after eating, using chloride from blood).

How is the sample collected for testing?

A blood sample is taken by needle from the arm. Chloride can also be measured in a urine sample.

The Test

How is it used?

Blood chloride may be useful along with sodium and blood gas analysis to evaluate problems with the acid-base balance in the body, and to monitor treatment.

When is it requested?

A blood chloride test may be requested to help evaluate kidney function and acid-base status. If your sodium measurement is abnormal, your doctor may look at whether the chloride measurement changes in the same way. If your acid-base balance is abnormal chloride measurement may help your doctor to work out the cause of the problem and may help guide treatment.

What does the test result mean?

A severe elevation or loss of this electrolyte can be seen in serious fluid and electrolyte imbalances. The type of medical treatment depends on the cause of the problem.

Increased concentrations of chloride (called hyperchloraemia) usually indicate dehydration, but can also occur with any other problem that causes high blood sodium. Hyperchloraemia also occurs when too much alkaline fluid is lost from the body (producing metabolic acidosis), or when a person hyperventilates (causing respiratory alkalosis).

Decreased levels of chloride (called hypochloraemia) occur with any disorder that causes low blood sodium. Hypochloraemia also occurs with prolonged vomiting or gastric suction, emphysema or other chronic lung disease (causing respiratory acidosis).

About Reference Intervals

Reference Intervals

95-110 mmol/L
0 to <1week       98-115 mmol/L
1week - 18yrs    98-110 mmol/L

The reference intervals shown above are known as harmonised reference intervals. This means that eventually all laboratories in Australia will eventually use this same set of intervals so wherever your sample is tested, the reference interval should be the one shown above. Laboratories are in the process of adopting these harmonised intervals so it is possible that the intervals shown on the report of your results for this test may be slightly different until this change is fully adopted. More information can be found under Reference Intervals – An Overview.

Common Questions

Where does chloride come from in the diet?

Most chloride is attached to sodium in the form of sodium chloride, or table salt.

What treatment is prescribed to affect chloride levels?

The same treatment used to treat sodium imbalances - diuretics, fluid replacement, etc - may be used to treat chloride imbalance.

Last Review Date: September 18, 2022

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