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Gastrointest Endosc. 1994 May-Jun;40(3):285-9.

The role of laparoscopy in the evaluation of ascites of unknown origin.

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  • 1Department of Hepato-Gastroenterology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.


The role of laparoscopy in the diagnostic evaluation of ascites of unknown origin was studied in 129 patients. Laparoscopic results were as follows: (1) Carcinomatosis peritonei in 78 (60.5%). Peritoneal biopsies in 76 of these cases revealed malignancy in 67 (adenocarcinoma 62, lymphoma 4, mesothelioma 1) and tuberculosis in 5; specimens were inadequate for diagnosis in 4. (2) Tuberculous peritonitis in 26 (20.2%). Peritoneal biopsies in 24 of these cases revealed tuberculosis in 22 and non-specific chronic peritonitis in 2. (3) Cirrhosis in 7 (5.4%). (4) No gross abnormality in 18 (14.0%). Of the latter, causes of ascites had already been identified in 13 (72.2%), including chronic renal failure in 7, systemic lupus erythematosus in 2, constrictive pericarditis in 2, chronic pancreatitis with chylous ascites in 1, and retroperitoneal lymph node metastasis with chylous ascites in 1. Thus, laparoscopic observation in combination with biopsy established the cause of ascites of unknown origin in 111 (86.0%) of 129 patients. Most of the 18 patients without gross laparoscopic abnormality had underlying disease identified as a cause of ascites; laparoscopy was indicated in these cases to exclude other processes that may also cause ascites.

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