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Meigs' syndrome mimicking heart failure with preserved ejection fraction: a case report.

BACKGROUND: Meigs' syndrome is a rare disease characterized by a triad of presentations, including benign ovarian tumor, ascites, and pleural effusion. However, a clinical diagnosis of Meigs' syndrome remains challenging because pleural and ascitic effusions can be common findings in a variety of underlying conditions. Furthermore, these findings can often be misdiagnosed as pleural and peritoneal dissemination caused by potentially malignant tumors, leading to the administration of improper treatment.

CASE PRESENTATION: We described a case of an 85-year-old postmenopausal female patient with atypical Meigs' syndrome presenting with right-sided pleural effusion, notable leg edema, and trivial ascites, which was initially mistaken as heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. However, pleural effusion was totally ineffective against diuretic therapy. Subsequently, thoracentesis yielded serosanguineous exudative effusion. Moreover, refractory pleural effusions and abdominal/pelvic computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging findings strongly suggested bilateral malignant ovarian tumors with pleural dissemination. Repetitive negative cytological results allowed the patient to undergo bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. Finally, a definitive diagnosis of Meigs' syndrome was made by confirming the presence of a benign mitotically active cellular fibroma of the ovary by pathology and that pleural effusion resolved following tumor resection.

CONCLUSIONS: Our case highlights the clinical importance of assessing Meigs' syndrome in the diagnostic workup of pleural effusion in postmenopausal female patients. Given the favorable prognosis of Meigs' syndrome, clinicians should consider surgical resection, even with potentially malignant ovarian tumors with accompanying pleural effusion, ascites, or both.

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