Pleural fluid protein is inversely correlated with age in uncomplicated parapneumonic pleural effusions.

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Pleural fluid protein is inversely correlated with age in uncomplicated parapneumonic pleural effusions.

Clin Biochem. 2013 Mar;46(4-5):378-80

Authors: Zarogiannis SG, Tsilioni I, Hatzoglou C, Molyvdas PA, Gourgoulianis KI

Abstract
OBJECTIVES: Assess whether age influences standard biochemical parameters used in the differential diagnosis of transudative and exudative pleural effusions.
DESIGN AND METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed data from the database of our clinic from 225 patients with pleural effusions categorized based on their final diagnosis in 5 groups: transudates 41 (18%), uncomplicated parapneumonic 26 (12%), complicated parapneumonic 20 (9%), tuberculosis 35 (15%) and lung cancer 103 (46%). We tested whether age correlated with pleural fluid protein or lactate dehydrogenase.
RESULTS: There was a statistically significant inverse correlation only between the age and the pleural fluid protein content in patients with uncomplicated parapneumonic effusions with correlation coefficient r=-0.6 [(95% CI=-0.8 to -0.28); p=0.001]. Linear regression analysis showed that this association is given by the equation: age=101.998-10.03 protein. In the same group of patients age was not correlated with serum protein content.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study shows that age may be a confounding factor in the differential diagnosis of transudative and exudative pleural effusions. Clinicians should be aware of this finding especially when dealing with elders.

PMID: 23219739 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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