Decompression of the thoracic lymph duct reportedly causes regression of ascites. Four patients were studied under careful conditions of metabolic balance during thoracic duct drainage and reinfusion of lymph. Decompression alone did not change the ascites. If a negative water and sodium balance was produced, such as by dialysis of the lymph, a corresponding reduction in ascites was effected. This effect was similar to the results from paracentesis, diuretics, or ascites autotransfusion. In one patient, ascites autotransfusion resulted in a four-fold increase in the lymph flow rate. It is postulated that the accelerated lymph flow resulted from an expansion of the plasma volume by ascites, which resulted in an increased blood flow to the liver and an increased transudation of lymph at the postsinusoidal block.
Fish JC, Sarles HE, Remmers AR, Williams RD. Effect of Thoracic Duct Decompression on Ascites. JAMA. 1968;203(2):98–102. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140020026006
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