Tourniquet test

Tourniquet test

:"For Tourniquet, see that article"

A tourniquet test (also known as a Rumpel-Leede Capillary-Fragility Test or simply a capillary fragility test) determines capillary fragility. It is a clinical diagnostic method to determine a patient's haemorrhagic tendency. It assesses fragility of capillary walls and is used to identify thrombocytopenia (a reduced platelet count).

The test is defined by the WHO as one of the necessary requisites for diagnosis of Dengue fever. A blood pressure cuff is applied and inflated to a point between the systolic and diastolic blood pressures for five minutes. The test is positive if there are more than 20 petechiae per square inch (a petechia is a small red or purple spot on the body, caused by a minor hemorrhage).

This test does not have high specificity. Interfering factors with this test are women who are premenstrual, postmenstrual and not taking hormones, or those with sun damaged skin, since all will have increased capillary fragility.(Pagana, & Pagana, 1998; Tsai, 2000).


At least one insurance company, Aetna, has determined that the Rumpel-Leede test is obsolete or unreliable and has been replaced by more advanced procedures. [ [ Aetna] Clinical Policy Bulletin: Obsolete and Unreliable Tests and Procedures]

The test remains an essential part of the assessment of a patient who may have dengue haemorrhagic fever.


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  • tourniquet test — 1. (for capillary fragility) pressure is applied midway between diastole and systole for 5 minutes by a manometer cuff; the cuff is released and petechiae are counted in an area 2.5 cm in diameter, on the inner aspect of the forearm. A number… …   Medical dictionary

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  • Tourniquet — A tourniquet is a constricting or compressing device used to control venous and arterial circulation to an extremity for a period of time. Pressure is applied circumferentially upon the skin and underlying tissues of a limb; this pressure is… …   Wikipedia

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  • Matas operation test — Mat·as operation, test (matґəs) [Rudolph Matas, American surgeon, 1860–1957] see endoaneurysmorrhaphy, and see tourniquet test (def. 2), under test …   Medical dictionary

  • Perthes disease test — Per·thes disease, test (perґtəz) [Georg Clemens Perthes, German surgeon, 1869–1927] Legg Calvй Perthes disease; see under disease, and see tourniquet test, under test …   Medical dictionary

  • Hess capillary test — (hes) [Alfred Fabian Hess, American physician, 1875–1933] tourniquet test (def. 1); see under test …   Medical dictionary

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  • Matas test — (for collateral circulation) after hyperemia of the limb has been induced with a tourniquet, the tourniquet is removed and the extent of collateral circulation is determined by compressing the main artery. Called also tourniquet t …   Medical dictionary

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