The simultaneous determination of cerebrospinal fluid and plasma adenosine deaminase activity as a diagnostic aid in tuberculous meningitis

Donald P.R. ; Malan C. ; Van Der Walt A. ; Schoeman J.F. (1986)

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Article

The simultaneous determination of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and plasma adenosine deaminase (ADA) activity was evaluated as a diagnostic aid in tuberculous meningitis (TBM). CSF and plasma ADA activity were determined in four groups of patients: (i) a 'no meningitis' group of 174 children investigated for possible meningitis, but found to be uninfected; (ii) an aseptic meningitis group of 40 children; (iii) a bacterial meningitis group of 31 children; and (iv) a TBM group of 27 patients (24 children and 3 adults). CSF ADA alone was determined in a further 23 children with aseptic meningitis, 19 with bacterial meningitis and 13 children and 7 adults with TBM. Both the CSF/plasma ADA ratio and the absolute CSF ADA activity were raised in TBM (mean values 0.24 and 12.61 U/l respectively) and bacterial meningitis (mean values 0.59 and 15.43 U/l respectively), but not in the aseptic meningitis group (mean values 0.06 and 2.00 U/l) or the 'no meningitis' group (mean values 0.04 and 1.51 U/l). Both values will distinguish TBM from aseptic meningitis, but do not appear to hold any marked advantages over conventional CSF criteria in the diagnosis of TBM.

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