Peritoneal fluid is a liquid that acts as a lubricant in the abdominal cavity.
Why Get Tested?
The purposes of the tests are to help diagnose:
- the cause of peritonitis, an inflammation of the membrane lining the abdomen,
- peritoneal fluid accumulation, where fluid builds up in the abdomen or around internal organs.
What does the test result mean?
The tests result helps determine whether the fluid is a transudate or exudate.
Most ascitic fluids are transudates and are caused by either congestive heart failure or hepatic cirrhosis. Typical fluid analysis results include:
- Physical characteristics—fluid generally appears clear or straw-colored
- Protein—less than 3 g/dL
- Albumin level—low (typically evaluated as the difference between serum albumin and peritoneal fluid albumin, termed serum-ascites albumin gradient, or SAAG; values above 1.1 g/dL are considered evidence of a transudate.)
- Lactate dehydrogenase (LD) fluid/serum ratio—less than 0.6
- Glucose—equal to glucose level in the blood
- Cell count—few cells are present, usually lymphocytes
- Specific gravity—less than 1.015
- Physical characteristics—fluid may appear cloudy
- Protein—greater than 3 g/dL
- Albumin level—higher than in transudates (typically with a SAAG less than 1.1 g/dL)
- Lactate dehydrogenase (LD) fluid/serum ratio—greater than 0.6
- Glucose—less than 60 mg/dL
- Cell count—increased
- Specific gravity—greater than 1.015
Exudates can be caused by a variety of conditions and diseases and usually require further testing to aid in the diagnosis. Please talk to your doctor to see what additional tests are needed.
keywords: Peritoneal Fluid Analysis