Postsurgical Chylous Ascites in Sarcoidosis with Portal Hypertension

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A patient with extensive thromboses of portal and mesenteric veins and sarcoid of the liver developed recurrent pulmonary emboli, which necessitated the insertion of an umbrella into the inferior vena cava. Chylous ascites appeared shortly thereafter; the ascitic fluid fat content was strikingly reduced after reduction of dietary long chain triglycerides, but the ascitic fluid volume was reduced only after insertion of a peritoneovenous shunt (LeLeen). The shunt was found to be nonfunctioning 4 months later, but ascites did not recur. Seven years later, while eating a normal diet and still having a nonfunctioning shunt, he remains free of ascites. We postulate that iatrogenic obstruction of the inferior vena cava in the presence of mesenteric and portal vein thromboses, as well as obstruction of mesenteric lymphatics by sarcoid lymphadenopathy, led to the formation of chylous ascites and that establishment of adequate mesenteric and portal venous and/or lymphatic collateral circulation was responsible for his sustained improvement.

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