Sweat Chloride Test (cont.)
David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP
Dr. Perlstein received his Medical Degree from the University of Cincinnati and then completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at The New York Hospital, Cornell medical Center in New York City. After serving an additional year as Chief Pediatric Resident, he worked as a private practitioner and then was appointed Director of Ambulatory Pediatrics at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- What is the sweat chloride test?
- What is the aim of the sweat chloride test?
- How is the sweat chloride test done?
- How long does the test take?
- What is done with the sweat?
- What are normal sweat chloride levels?
- What is the sweat chloride level in cystic fibrosis?
- What if the sweat chloride is intermediate (between normal and the usual cystic fibrosis levels)?
- Can a cystic fibrosis child have a normal sweat chloride level?
- Can the sweat chloride be high without having cystic fibrosis?
What if the sweat chloride is intermediate (between normal and the usual cystic fibrosis levels)?
Intermediate values between 35 and 60 milliequivalents per liter may be seen in some cystic fibrosis patients (and in some normal children). In those cases, the sweat chloride test should be repeated in the very near future.
Can a cystic fibrosis child have a normal sweat chloride level?
In a severely malnourished patient with cystic fibrosis, the sweat chloride level may be normal. However, once the malnutrition is corrected, the test becomes positive.
Can the sweat chloride be high without having cystic fibrosis?
There are a few rare conditions which produce a false positive sweat chloride test. Such situations include diseases of the adrenal, thyroid, or pituitary glands; rare lipid storage diseases; and infection of the pancreas. Generally, however, these children are easily differentiated from patients with cystic fibrosis by their clinical condition, and molecular tests for cystic fibrosis can be done to clarify the diagnosis.
Medically reviewed by Margaret Walsh, MD; American Board of Pediatrics
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