John Brock-Utne

Publication Details

  • A comparison of simple tests to distinguish cerebrospinal fluid from saline CANADIAN JOURNAL OF ANAESTHESIA-JOURNAL CANADIEN D ANESTHESIE Walker, D. S., BROCKUTNE, J. G. 1997; 44 (5): 494-497


    This prospective study was undertaken to determine if anesthesiologists of different levels of training, using simple tests, can distinguish cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from saline.Thirty-two anaesthetists, divided into four groups, dependent upon levels of training, participated in the study. Each was asked to distinguish saline from an artificial CSF solution using four different tests: tactile temperature, glucose strip, pH strip, and turbidity when mixed with thiopental.Participants identified cerebrospinal fluid correctly with 84% accuracy using the temperature test, 97% using the glucose test, 91% using the pH test, and 50% using the thiopentone test. More than half of the participants guessed while using the thiopentone test, and those who did not guess were only 47% accurate.Level of training made no difference in distinguishing CSF from saline. No one test was 100% reliable. Clinical utility of the thiopentone test appears to be limited. The temperature, glucose, and pH tests, when used together, appear to be a useful way of distinguishing CSF from saline.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1997WZ15200008

    View details for PubMedID 9161743

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