The Limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL) assay was used in a blinded, prospective fashion to analyze peritoneal fluids from 35 consecutive patients undergoing continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD), who presented with clinical peritonitis. The results were correlated with standard microbiologic culture results. The LAL assay was positive in all three patients with gram-negative peritonitis, was appropriately negative in 24 of 28 gram-positive infections (sensitivity, 100%; specificity, 86%) and was positive in two of five cases in which there was no microbiologic growth. One of the two patients in this last group yielded a gram-negative organism two days later. It was then demonstrated that therapeutic concentrations of a variety of antibiotics (cefazolin sodium, gentamicin sulfate, tobramycin sulfate, ticarcillin disodium, penicillin G potassium, vancomycin hydrochloride, metronidazole hydrochloride, piperacillin sodium, and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole) did not interfere with the LAL assay. Together, these data indicate that the LAL assay is useful for identifying patients at high risk for gram-negative peritonitis and for excluding from possible aminoglycoside exposure the majority of patients with peritonitis undergoing CAPD, most of whom will have gram-positive infections. Furthermore, lack of antibiotic interference allows the possibility of monitoring treatment efficacy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine