Deficiencies of factor VIII (in haemophilia) and factor IX (in Christmas disease) prolong the partial thromboplastin time. If normal plasma is treated with alumina, the factor VIII remains but the factor IX is removed and can subsequently be recovered by elution of the alumina. If a long partial thromboplastin time is found on investigating a male patient whose history suggests a life-long bleeding disorder, the plasma may be retested after adding either alumina-adsorbed normal plasma or eluate. If the patient's partial thromboplastin time is shortened (relative to the control) by adding adsorbed normal plasma the patient is likely to be a haemophiliac; but if it is shortened by adding eluate then he is likely to have Christmas disease. Practical details for carrying out these manoeuvres are given and experiments on the validity of the test described.
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