A modification of the urine osmolal gap was evaluated as an estimate of urine [NH4+]. We proposed that: Urine [NH4+] = Urine osmolality - [2(Na+ + K+) + urea + glucose]/2 Spot urine samples were collected from normal volunteers and from individuals with ketonuria; the modified urine osmolal gap as well as two other previously described estimates of urine [NH4+] were compared with measured urine [NH4+]. There was a significant positive linear correlation between the urine [NH4+] and the modified urine osmolal gap in normal volunteers (r = 0.81; p less than 0.01) and in individuals with ketonuria (r = 0.93; p less than 0.001). The originally described urine osmolal gap greatly overestimated the urine [NH4+] but also showed a significant correlation. The urine anion gap was not a valid estimate of urine [NH4+] within the range of values measured in our subjects. The modified urine osmolal gap is an improvement over previously described estimates of urine [NH4+] and can be used as a single calculation in place of the other two.