• Thirty-five patients with malignant ascites who received a peritoneovenous shunt were studied to determine the type and duration of postoperative coagulopathy. Coagulation factors were measured before and on the first and third day after the placement of a Denver peritoneovenous shunt; 1 to 10 L of ascites was removed at operation. Levels of platelets, antithrombin III, plasminogen, antiplasmin, fibrinogen, and factors V and VIII decreased by the first postoperative day but did not change further through the third day. The levels of fibrinolytic split products increased on day 1 but were lower by day 3. The platelet count reduction by the third day correlated with the hematocrit change (-0.031). The prothrombin and activated partial thromboplastin times remained normal postoperatively. The patterns of change were similar for patients with positive (n=18) and negative (n = 17) ascites cytologic findings, with elevated (n = 24) and normal (n = 11) preoperative fibrinolytic split product levels, an elevated bilirubin value (25 μmol/L; n=9), and no jaundice (n = 26). Bleeding did not occur. The data indicated that plasminogen- rather than thromboplastin-activated fibrinolysis occurred and that platelet reduction was largely dilutional. The reactions were not progressive when ascites was removed operatively.
(Arch Surg. 1990;125:474-477)