Urine Test Strips to Exclude Cerebral Spinal Fluid Blood
Introduction: Determining the presence or absence of red blood cells (RBC) or their breakdown products in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is essential for the evaluation of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) in headache patients. Current methodology for finding blood in the CSF is either spectrophotometric detection of pigment, which is time consuming and labor intensive, or visual assesment of samples for color change (xanthochromia), which is inaccurate. Bayer Multistix® urine test strips are designed to test urine for RBC by detecting the presence of hemoglobin. The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate the perfomance of urine reagent test strips for ruling out the presence of RBC in CSF.
Methods: We compared color changes on Multistix® urine test strips to the standard of spectrophotometric absorbtion at 415nm and initial RBC counts in 138 visually clear CSF samples.
Results: We performed Pearson Chi-Square and likelihood ratios on the results and found a correlation between a negative result on the urine test strip and less than 5 RBC per high power field and a spectrophotometric absorbance of less than 0.02% at 415nm in a CSF sample.
Conclusion: These results warrant further investigation in the form of a prospective clinical validation as it may alter the emergency department evaluation for SAH. [West J Emerg Med. 2011;12(1):63-66.]