What is the significance of a finding of culture-negative neutrocytic ascites in the evaluation of peritonitis?

Updated: Jul 23, 2019
  • Author: Brian J Daley, MD, MBA, FACS, FCCP, CNSC; Chief Editor: Praveen K Roy, MD, AGAF  more...
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Answer

Culture-negative neutrocytic ascites (probable SBP) is established when the ascitic fluid culture results are negative but the PMN count is 250 cells/µL or greater. This may happen in as many as 50% of patients with SBP and may not actually represent a distinctly different disease entity. Rather, it may be the result of poor culturing techniques or late-stage resolving infection. Nonetheless, these patients should be treated just as aggressively as those with positive culture results.


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