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Definition:

The acid loading test (pH) measures the ability of the kidney tubules to acidify urine when there is increased plasma acidity.

See also: Urine pH



How the test is performed:

You'll be told to take ammonium chloride capsules by mouth for 3 days. Then, a urine and blood sample are taken. (The blood sample is needed to show that the ammonium chloride made the blood slightly acidic.) The laboratory measures the level of acid found in both samples.

For information on how the urine and blood samples are obtained, see:



How to prepare for the test:

Your doctor will tell you to take ammonium chloride capsules by mouth for 3 days prior to the test.



How the test will feel:

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.



Why the test is performed:

This test is done to see how well your kidneys control the body's acid-base status.



Normal Values:

Strongly acidic urine of less than pH 6 is normal.

Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.



What abnormal results mean:

The most common disorder associated with an abnormal result is renal tubular acidosis .



What the risks are:

There are no risks associated with providing a urine sample.

The risks of having blood drawn include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling light-headed
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.




Review Date: 10/15/2007
Reviewed By: Frank A. Greco, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Biophysical Laboratory, The Lahey Clinic, Burlington, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100