What is chylous ascites?
Chylous ascites refers to accumulation of lipid-rich fluid in the abdominal cavity. It is primarily due to trauma or obstruction to the lymphatic system. The most common cause of this is malignancy. Chylous ascites can also occur after lymph node dissection during abdominal surgery.
What are the symptoms of chylous ascites?
Patients with chylous ascites usually present with painless, progressive distention of the abdomen. Weight gain and shortness of breath are also commonly seen due to increased abdominal girth.
What imaging is done to diagnose chylous ascites?
An ultrasound guided paracentesis is the most common way to diagnose patients with ascites. The fluid will generally appear milky/cloudy. The fluid is sent to the lab for multiple tests. Elevated triglyceride levels in ascitic fluid are very important in defining chylous ascites.