Papers And Originals

Assessment of Limulus Test for Detecting Endotoxaemia

Br Med J 1974; 2 doi: (Published 01 June 1974) Cite this as: Br Med J 1974;2:465
  1. D. P. Fossard,
  2. V. V. Kakkar,
  3. Penelope A. Elsey


    The occurrence of endotoxaemia in 46 surgical patients has been investigated using a sensitive preparation of limulus lysate. Altogether 23 patients with local and systemic Gram-negative infections were shown to have endotoxaemia. An overt infection is not a prerequisite for a positive limulus test result, since endotoxin can be absorbed via the peritoneal cavity in patients with “chemical” peritonitis. Over 70% of the tests performed during episodes of Gram-negative infection or peritonitis gave positive results. In 23 patients without clinical evidence of infection or peritonitis only 15% of the limulus test results were positive. The implications of these findings and the use of the test in clinical practice are discussed.