Percutaneous biopsies of the peritoneum were obtained in 23 patients with ascites of unknown cause. The only case of tuberculous peritonitis was correctly diagnosed. Peritoneal biopsy provided a diagnosis of malignancy in 6 patients (one lymphoma, one mesothelioma, 4 cases of disseminated carcinoma) but failed to recognize a further 13 cases of disseminated carcinoma. Previous literature is reviewed and the diagnostic usefulness of this procedure is discussed.
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