The Zinc Sulfate Turbidity Test and Liver Disease

Author and Disclosure Information


THE zinc sulfate turbidity test has become a useful test in the diagnosis of liver disease because of its simplicity and reliability in detecting increased gamma-globulin levels. The zinc sulfate turbidity test was introduced in 1947 by Kunkel1 as a simple means of determining the serum gamma-globulin level. However, the zinc sulfate turbidity test has not been used so extensively as the other turbidity and flocculation tests (cephalin and thymol) for liver function. This paper proposes to show the value and usefulness of the zinc sulfate turbidity by reviewing results of tests performed on patients at the Cleveland Clinic.

The results of zinc sulfate turbidity tests were compared with the clinical diagnoses in over 1,200 patients.2 The diagnoses of these patients were divided into seven categories as follows: (1) normal or no evidence of organic disease; (2) noninfectious, nonhepatic diseases; (3) cirrhosis; (4) hepatitis; (5) obstructive jaundice; (6) infectious diseases; and (7) metastatic hepatic disease. The method of performing the zinc sulfate turbidity tests was the same as that originally described by Kunkel.1

Figure 1 represents the results of tests on 391 patients considered normal or having functional complaints with no evidence of organic disease. The mean zinc sulfate turbidity value was 6.42 + 2.54 units. This study did not differentiate test results with regard to race, however, only a few patients were Negroes.3 Only eight patients had turbidity values higher than 12 units. Studies on more than 200 apparently healthy blood bank donors ranged from 2 to 12 units.



Next Article: