JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Pancreatic Ascites.

Ascites occurring in patients with a history of alcoholism is usually due to cirrhosis but clinically significant ascites also occurs in association with pancreatic disease. We reviewed 265 cases of pancreatitis over a five-year period. There were 129 blacks and 136 Caucasians. Ages ranged from 19-86 years with a mean of 46.2 years. Eight of these cases (3%) were found to have pancreatic ascites. The initial serum and urinary amylase had no prognostic value regarding the subsequent development of pancreatic ascites. The mean ascitic fluid amylase was 14,426 Somogyi units (range 1,279-67,774). The mean ascitic fluid protein was 4.6 gm./100ml. (range 1.4-7.2). High enzyme and protein concentration in the ascitic fluid are characteristic of pancreatic ascites. Out of eight cases, two were associated with a pseudocyst, three with hemorrhagic pancreatitis and three with acute edematous pancreatitis. Four of these eight (50%) died. Pancreatic ascites is a distinct clinical entity which should be differentiated from cirrhotic, tuberculous or malignant ascites.

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