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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 9

of 'Malignancy-related ascites'

Spontaneous chylous ascites of cirrhosis.
Rector WG Jr
J Clin Gastroenterol. 1984;6(4):369.
The spontaneous development of chylous ascites in patients with cirrhosis is documented, but its clinical features are not well defined. The incidence of this complication of chronic liver disease was 0.5% in ascitic patients in our liver unit. These patients were older than a control group with nonchylous cirrhotic ascites and, despite better liver tests, appeared to have a higher diuretic requirement. Several had disabling, recurrent spontaneous encephalopathy. The mechanism of chylous ascites in cirrhosis is probably portal hypertension causing lymphatic rupture; however, the fact that serum-to-ascites albumin gradients were similar in the two groups, indicating similar degrees of portal hypertension, suggests that other factors also play a role. Spontaneous transformation of previously clear ascites appeared to be associated with a poor prognosis. In contrast, the appearance of chylous ascites de novo in a cirrhotic patient appeared to have a more favorable outcome. Conservative management is recommended for most patients, as the degree of their liver disease appears to be the most important factor determining prognosis.