One hundred fifty-seven nitroblue tetrazolium (NBT) dye tests were performed on 78 patients with cystic fibrosis. A "positive" NBT response of >10% was significantly correlated with the presence of presumed bacterial respiratory infection, and stable patients had "normal" NBT scores below 10%.
Serial determinations in 16 instances of bacterial infection were helpful in evaluating response to therapy. Total leukocyte count, mean percentage of immature polymorphonuclear leukocytes, temperature, or a change in sputum flora were not helpful in detecting bacterial infection in these patients. The NBT test is a valuable adjunct in the surveillance of patients with cystic fibrosis.
Sullivan JF, Dolan TF, Meyers A, Treat K. Use of the Nitroblue Tetrazolium Dye Test: An Aid in Managing Patients With Cystic Fibrosis. Am J Dis Child. 1973;125(5):702–704. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1973.04160050056010
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