BACKGROUND--A statistical audit of adenosine deaminase (ADA) in pleural effusions was undertaken. METHODS--ADA analysis, cytological and microbiological examinations, and differential cell counts were performed on 462 pleural fluid samples. RESULTS--ADA activity in tuberculous effusions was higher than in any other diagnostic group. At a level of 50 U/l the sensitivity and specificity for the identification of tuberculosis was 90% and 89%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS--ADA activity remains a useful test in the evaluation of pleural effusions.
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