JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Role of peritoneal ultrasonography and ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration cytology/biopsy of extravisceral masses in the diagnosis of ascites of undetermined origin.

BACKGROUND AND STUDY AIMS: Ascites may be of undetermined origin despite comprehensive study. This study aimed to assess the accuracy and safety of conventional and interventional high-frequency peritoneal ultrasound in the diagnosis of patients with ascites of unclear origin.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: A total of 62 patients were prospectively enrolled; they underwent conventional (3.5-5MHz) and high-frequency (6-8MHz) transabdominal peritoneal ultrasound to suggest the nature of ascites supplemented by fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) of ascites and/or core biopsy of the omentum or other extra-visceral masses for final histopathologic diagnosis. Laparoscopy or laparotomy was needed if biopsy was inconclusive.

RESULTS: Ultrasound-guided procedures were diagnostic in 55 (87.7%) patients. Thirty-six (58.1%) were benign, of whom 86% had tuberculous peritonitis, 26 (41.9%) were malignant, of whom 76.9% had peritoneal metastasis. High-frequency ultrasound was able to propose ultrasonographic criteria in a trial to diagnose the nature of ascites. Our proposed ultrasonographic criteria were based on the amount and texture of ascites in addition to the omental and mesenteric features. These were able to suggest the diagnosis with 80.7% sensitivity for malignant ascites and 75% specificity for benign ascites. Moreover, histopathological examination of tissues obtained by ultrasound-guided procedures increased the sensitivity to 88.5% and the specificity to 88.9% in diagnosing malignant and benign disease, respectively, with an overall diagnostic accuracy of 88.6%. These procedures were considered to be safe as only one major (haemoperitoneum) and two minor complications (temporary ascitic fistula) were reported.

CONCLUSION: High-frequency peritoneal ultrasound together with the minimally invasive ultrasound-guided FNAC/biopsy of extra-visceral lesions may be considered an effective and safe tool in the diagnosis of ascites of undetermined origin.

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