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      Chylous Ascites


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          Chylous ascites is the accumulation of milky chyle in the peritoneal cavity. Chylous ascites has been reported after surgeries like abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, radical gastrectomy, duodenectomy, nephrectomy and Wilm's tumor resection. Our literature search did not reveal any reports of chylous ascites after a gastric ulcer resection. We report about an elderly woman with a rare complication of chylous ascites after an emergent surgery for a perforated gastric ulcer.

          Case Report:

          A 70-year-old woman developed sudden respiratory distress on 5 th post-operative day after an elective C3-C7 cervical discectomy and fusion. Her past medical history was significant for cervical spondylosis. The Computed Tomography (CT) scan of the chest revealed air under the diaphragm suspicious for hollow viscus perforation. She underwent an emergent surgery for drainage of hematoma in the neck along with an emergent laparotomy to repair a large perforated gastric ulcer distal to the gastro-esophageal junction. The patient had worsening of abdominal distention on 4 th post-operative day. The CT scan of abdomen showed fluid collection in the abdomen. The abdominal drain revealed large amount of serous milky fluid at the rate of 1500 ml per day. The fluid analysis showed that the triglyceride level was 170 mg/dl and cholesterol level was 15 mg/dl. The fluid cultures did not grow any organism. She responded to treatment with octreotide and a diet of medium chain triglyceride oil.


          Any obstruction or damage to the lymphatic channels results in chylous ascites. Lymphomas, metastatic malignancies, and abdominal surgeries commonly cause chylous ascites. Ascitic fluid triglyceride level greater than 110 mg/dl is diagnostic of chylous ascites. Chylous ascites is a rare complication of a peptic ulcer resection which can be managed effectively with octreotide.

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          Most cited references10

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          Chylous ascites after post-chemotherapy retroperitoneal lymph node dissection: review of the M. D. Anderson experience.

          We determined the clinical presentation, risk factors and optimal treatment of chylous ascites that develop after retroperitoneal lymph node dissection in patients with testicular cancer. We retrospectively reviewed the records of 329 patients who underwent post-chemotherapy retroperitoneal lymph node dissection at our institution, of whom 23 (7%) had chylous ascites postoperatively. Clinical and pathological parameters were entered into a database. Mean patient age at chylous ascites presentation was 32.1 years. On univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses increasing amounts of preoperative chemotherapy (OR 1.24) and intraoperative blood loss (OR 1.33) were predictive of chylous ascites. The clinical presentation of chylous ascites consisted of abdominal fullness and distention in all patients. Initial treatment was paracentesis alone or combined with total parenteral nutrition in 77% of patients. An abdominal drain was used for persistent ascites in 10 patients. In patients treated conservatively the rate of resolution of chylous ascites was 77%. Only 23% of patients required peritoneovenous shunt placement. However, shunt use was associated with an 80% surgical revision rate. Conservative treatment resolves most cases of postoperative chylous ascites. An abdominal catheter drain should be considered for significant or recurring chylous ascites. When a peritoneovenous shunt is required, it may be needed for an extensive period for resolution and there are significant complications associated with its use. Increasing amounts of preoperative chemotherapy and operative blood loss raise the likelihood of chylous ascites.
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            Use of orlistat (xenical) to treat chylous ascites.

            Chylous ascites is uncommon and occurs in about 1 in 20,000 hospital admissions. Causes include disruption of the lymphatic system due to malignancy, cirrhosis, surgery, or radiation therapy. The mainstay of therapy has been low-fat diet supplemented with medium-chain triglyceride oil. However, dietary compliance can be difficult to achieve for adequate response. We report a 47-year-old man with hepatitis C and alcohol-related cirrhosis with new-onset chylous ascites and chylothorax. His ascites triglyceride was 585 mg/dL, and the pleural fluid triglyceride was 691 mg/dL. Ascitic and pleural fluid cytology and acid-fast bacilli stain were negative. The patient was treated with low-fat diet and medium-chain triglyceride oil. However, his ascites remained chylous after 1 week of treatment because of poor compliance with the dietary restrictions. Orlistat was then added to his treatment regimen. A half week later, the chylous component of his ascites resolved. Remaining high-volume clear ascites was treated with placement of a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt. To our knowledge, orlistat has never been used in the treatment of chylous ascites. This case suggests the potential value of adding orlistat to low-fat diet and medium-chain triglyceride oil in the treatment of chylous ascites, especially in patients who are unable to comply with the dietary restrictions.
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              Octreotide in the outpatient therapy of cirrhotic chylous ascites: a case report.

              Chylous ascites is a rare complication of liver cirrhosis associated with a poor short-term prognosis. We report the case of an 80-year-old male cirrhotic patient with refractory chylous ascites associated with portal hypertension. He was treated with total parenteral nutrition but chylous ascites relapsed at suspension. Patient was put on long-term subcutaneous octreotide (100 microg t.i.d.) as an outpatient. The treatment was well tolerated and led to clinical improvement, markedly reducing the need of total paracentesis and the amount of ascites. Octreotide was stopped after 6 months, and massive ascites did not relapse. After 1 year the patient was alive, with no need of paracentesis. Octreotide therapy should be considered in patients with cirrhosis and chylous ascites to simplify the outpatient management of the disease.

                Author and article information

                N Am J Med Sci
                North American Journal of Medical Sciences
                Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd (India )
                September 2011
                : 3
                : 9
                : 438-440
                [1]Department of Internal Medicine, Michigan State University Internal Medicine Residency Program, McLaren Regional Medical Center, Flint, Michigan, USA.
                Author notes
                Correspondence to: Dr. Siva K Talluri, Clinical assistant professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Michigan State University Internal Medicine residency program, McLaren Regional Medical Center, Flint, Michigan, USA. Tel.: 810-342-5800, Fax: 810-342-5810, Email: talluri1@ 123456msu.edu
                Copyright: © North American Journal of Medical Sciences

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Case Report

                chyle,chylous ascites,ascites
                chyle, chylous ascites, ascites


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