Document Type : Original Article
Department of Emergency Medicine, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran
Objective: To evaluate the capability of ascitic fluid dipstick results for pH, glucose, and protein in order to predict a low serum-ascites albumin gradient (SAAG) at the bedside of the patient in the emergency department (ED).
Methods: This prospective cross-sectional study was conducted during one year in the ED of Afzalipour hospital in Kerman, Iran. All patients with diagnostic or therapeutic paracentesis of ascitic fluid were considered as eligible patients. Exclusion criteria included clinical suspicion for spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP), any contraindications to paracentesis, and patients’ refusal to participate in the study. Dipstick values were obtained at the bedside, and SAAG was calculated after the determination of serum and ascitic fluid albumin by laboratory. A low SAAG ascitic fluid was defined as the study outcome. We also used our study population as a test group to evaluate an equation proposed in one previous study: K = 0.012 Protein−0.012 Glucose−3.329 pH+23.498
Results: A total of 50 patients were enrolled in the study. Based on multivariate regression analysis, dipstick values for protein and glucose were independently predictive of a low SAAG ascitic fluid (P = 0.23, OR = 1.04; and P = 0.001, OR = 0.81, respectively). The formula proposed in one of the previous studies was tested by our data set, with sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) at 84%, 83%, 84%, and 80%, respectively.
Conclusion: Dipstick test of ascitic fluid for pH, glucose, and protein has an acceptable sensitivity and specificity as a point of care test, but it cannot be recommended as a substitute for SAAG determination based on the current findings.