Research Highlight

Bedside liver test

doi:10.1038/nindia.2012.13 Published online 27 January 2012

Researchers have designed a new bedside test that can detect signs of harmful diseases in bloodless abdominal fluids within a few minutes. This will be a useful tool for diagnosing malignant liver disease and diseases that affect other organs.

Abdominal fluids are classified as exudates (rich in protein and cellular elements, oozing out of blood vessels due to inflammation) or transudates (filtrate of blood that accumulates in tissues outside blood vessels, resulting in edema).

Existing techniques for identifying exudates and transudates are lab-based delaying analysis and therapy. The researchers devised a novel bedside method for classifying exudates and transudates to identify possible signs of disease.

They collected bloodless abdominal fluid samples from patients of tuberculosis, liver and ovarian cancer and cirrhosis of liver. They added hydrogen peroxide to the fluid samples. All the exudates showed profuse bubbles within a minute of this. None of the transudates bubbled, but profuse bubbles were observed when the transudates were mixed with blood or catalase prior to the addition of hydrogen peroxide.

The researchers say that the appearance of profuse bubbles within one minute allows the abdominal fluid to be classified as either an exudate or a transudate without the sample needing to be transported to clinical lab, thus minimizing the time between sample collection and diagnosis.

The authors of this work are from: Department of Biochemistry and Department of Medicine, Calcutta National Medical College, Kolkata, and Department of Experimental Medicine and Biotechnology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India.


  1. Sarkar, S. et al. Development of a point of care testing tool to classify peritoneal effusion as exudate and transudate. Clin. Chim. Acta. 413, 121-125 (2012) | Article | PubMed |