What is the role of urine anion gap (AG) calculation in the workup of metabolic acidosis?

Updated: Oct 10, 2018
  • Author: Christie P Thomas, MBBS, FRCP, FASN, FAHA; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Answer

In the face of metabolic acidosis, the kidneys increase the amount of NH3 synthesized to buffer the excess H+ and NH4 Cl excretion increases. The increased unmeasured NH4+ thus increases the measured anion Cl- in the urine, and the net effect is a negative AG, representing a normal response to systemic acidification. The finding of a positive urine AG in the face of non-AG metabolic acidosis points toward a renal acidification defect (eg, RTA [10] ). See earlier section on urine anion gap.


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