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February 3, 1900


JAMA. 1900;XXXIV(5):300. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.02460050046007

An accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity may result from either local inflammatory conditions, or more exclusively vascular states. In the first instance, it occurs as an exudation; in the latter as a transudation. The second of these conditions may develop in consequence of venous blood stasis from whatever cause, general or local, or of undue permeability of the veins, such as is associated with nephritis, tuberculosis, carcinoma and other cachectic states. Exudates and transudates are usually clear, though the former are likely to contain flocculi of lymph, while their specific gravity is the higher—above 1014—and they contain the more albumin. The effusion may be bloody, and contain red corpuscles. Occasionally, ascitic fluid is whitish, like milk. This appearance may be due to the presence of either fat or chyle. The former has been observed in connection with tuberculosis or carcinoma of the peritoneum, when large numbers of fat-cells