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Am J Kidney Dis. 1996 Jan;27(1):42-7.

Evaluation of urine acidification by urine anion gap and urine osmolal gap in chronic metabolic acidosis.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University, Korea.


To investigate the clinical significance of urine anion gap and urine osmolal gap as indirect markers of urine acidification in chronic metabolic acidosis, we evaluated urine ammonium (NH4+), net acid excretion (NAE), urine anion gap (Na(+) + K(+) - Cl-), and urine osmolal gap (urine osmolality - [2(Na(+) + K(+)) + urea]) in 24 patients with chronic renal failure (CRF), eight patients with classic distal renal tubular acidosis (dRTA), and eight NH4Cl-loaded normal controls (NCs). Urine NH4+ excretion was lower (P < 0.001) in the CRF (5.4 +/- 0.6 mmol/d) and dRTA (19.2 +/- 2.7 mmol/d) patients than in the NCs (52.6 +/- 3.7 mmol/d); NAE was also lower (P < 0.001) in the CRF (9.8 +/- 1.6 mmol/d) and dRTA (16.7 +/- 4.7 mmol/d) patients than in the NCs (79.4 +/- 4.7 mmol/d). Urine anion gap was higher (P < 0.001) in the CRF (24.7 +/- 2.2 mmol/L) and dRTA (36.7 +/- 7.7 mmol/L) patients than in the NCs (-16.2 +/- 5.5 mmol/L). Urine osmolal gap was lower (P < 0.05) in the dRTA patients (129.7 +/- 17.0 mmol/L) than in the NCs (319.7 +/- 58.4 mmol/L). When the data from all subjects were pooled, urine anion gap correlated inversely with urine NH4+ (r = -0.70, P < 0.001) and with NAE (r = -0.83, P < 0.001), and urine osmolal gap correlated positively with urine NH4+ (r = 0.69, P < 0.01) and with NAE (r = 0.71, P < 0.05). We conclude that impaired urine acidification in CRF and dRTA patients is associated with an increase in urine anion gap and a decrease in urine osmolal gap, and that both urine anion gap and urine osmolal gap correlate well with NAE as well as with urine NH4+.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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