Uric acid is known to be an end product of purine metabolism. Increases in uric acid may be found in clinical conditions associated with tissue hypoxia. We have investigated the value of uric acid to differentiate between a transudate and exudate. In this study, we measured uric acid in the pleural fluid and the serum of 110 patients, 30 women and 80 men with a mean age of 49.5+/-19 years. Light's criteria were used to differentiate between a transudate and exudate.