Document Type: Original Research
Dept. of Pathology, Imam Khomeini Hospital Complex, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Background: Accumulation of pleural and peritoneal fluid is seen in some diseases. In order to diagnose the disease and start the treatment, one of the most important actions will be to differentiate between exudates and transudates. The objective of this study was to determine the diagnostic value of measuring the specific gravity of the fluid through refractometer and strip in differentiation of exudates from transudates.
Methods: The serum of patients was evaluated for protein, LDH, cholesterol, bilirubin and albumin. The fluid was evaluated for the number of white blood cells, protein, LDH, cholesterol, bilirubin and albumin. Then the fluids were divided into exduate and transudate categories based on Light and Gradient criteria. Finally, the specific gravity of the fluids was measured by refractometer, Erma, Japan and Medi-Test Combi II. The categorized fluids were compared with Gold Standards (final diagnosis) so that the sensitivity and specificity of Light and Gradient criteria in the transudate-exudate differentiation were specified.
Results: In comparison with Light criteria, the cut off level of 1022 specific gravity measured by refractometer for pleural effusion has sensitivity, specificity of 92.1%, 68.1%respectively. In evaluation of peritoneal fluid considering cut off point 1023, measured by refractometer has reliable sensitivity 92.4%, specificity 70.4 compared with standard gradient method.
Conclusion: Differentiating transudate from exudates by measuring its special gravity by refractometer will have acceptable sensitivity and specificity, and when rapidity is necessary or access to lab equipment is limited, this method could be used.