Adenosine deaminase levels in cerebrospinal fluid in the diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis

Malan C. ; Donald P.R. ; Golden M. ; Taljaard J.J.F. (1984)


The prognosis of tuberculous meningitis is closely linked to the stage at which treatment is started. At the same time the diagnosis will often have to be made on purely circumstantial evidence. Adenosine deaminase activity in the cerebrospinal fluid was evaluated as a diagnostic aid in 30 cases of tuberculous meningitis. Cerebrospinal fluid adenosine deaminase levels differentiated tuberculous meningitis cases from those with aseptic meningitis being higher than 4 U/l in all and higher than 6 U/l in 90% of cases of tuberculous meningitis, but lower than 6 U/l in aseptic meningitis and less than 4 U/l in normal controls. It could not distinguish bacterial meningitis from tuberculous or aseptic meningitis. In cases of low-cell-count bacterial meningitis, the mean cerebrospinal fluid adenosine deaminase level was significantly lower than in cases of tuberculous meningitis with a similar cell count, but considerable overlap of results in the two groups was still to be found.

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