Sweat Chloride Test (cont.)

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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

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/3/2014

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