We studied the activity of adenosine deaminase in the peritoneal fluid of 66 patients who were divided into five groups according to causes of ascites as follows: tuberculous peritonitis (group I), septic peritonitis (group II), secondary to malignant tumours (group III), miscellaneous conditions (group IV), and control subjects of transudates (group V). In patients with tuberculous peritonitis the enzyme activity was significantly higher than for the rest of the groups (p less than 0.001), and enzyme concentrations in all patients were well above the upper non-tuberculous value. Adenosine deaminase activity in the peritoneal fluid has proved to be a simple and reliable method for early diagnosis of tuberculous peritonitis.
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