The anion gap is the concentration of plasma anions not routinely measured by laboratory screening. It is useful in the evaluation of acid-base disorders. The anion gap is greater with increased plasma concentrations of endogenous species (e.g., phosphate, sulfate, lactate, and ketoacids) or exogenous species (e.g., salicylate, penicillin, ethylene glycol, ethanol, and methanol). The formulas for calculating the anion gap are as follows:

where the expected normal value for the first equation is 11 to 20 mmol/L and that for the second equation is 7 to 16 mmol/L. Note that there is a variation in the upper and lower limits of the normal range.

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