The nitroblue tetrazolium (NBT) test was done in 378 adult patients studied at the University of Iowa Hospitals. Normal patients had phagocyte values below 8%, or 600 NBT-positive phagocytes per cubic millimeter. Patients with untreated bacterial infections had phagocyte values ranging from 595 to 7,598/cu mm, with a median of 1,577 and a mean value of 2,102 positive phagocytes per cubic millimeter. Of 67 infected patients receiving effective antibacterial medication, 24 had normal NBT tests; phagocyte values for this infected group ranged from 64 to 11,111; median value was 704, and mean value 1,094. Among 19 patients with false-positive tests, active radiotherapy and hemodialysis accounted for half of these reactions. Five of 31 patients studied who had fever and normal NBT tests were considered false-negatives; 26 patients had true-negative tests, including six patients with advanced malignant lymphomas and six with drug fevers. The NBT test was valuable in the evaluation of febrile patients.
Campos ME, Rabinovich S, Smith IM. The Nitroblue Tetrazolium Test: An Evaluation of the False-Positive and False-Negative Results. Arch Intern Med. 1974;133(3):432–436. doi:10.1001/archinte.1974.00320150106013
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