Indexed on: 11 May '16Published on: 11 May '16Published in: BMC Pulmonary Medicine
Meigs' syndrome is defined as the presence of a benign ovarian tumor with pleural effusion and ascites that resolve after removal of the tumor. The pathogenesis of the production of ascites and pleural effusion in this syndrome remains unknown. Aside from pleural effusion and ascites, pericardial effusion is rarely observed in Meigs' syndrome. Here, we report the first case of Meigs' syndrome with preceding pericardial effusion in advance of pleural effusion.An 84-year-old Japanese non-smoking woman with a history of lung cancer, treated by surgery, was admitted due to gradual worsening of dyspnea that had occurred over the previous month. She had asymptomatic and unchanging pericardial effusion and a pelvic mass, which had been detected 3 and 11 years previously, respectively. The patient was radiologically followed-up without the need for treatment. Two months before admission, the patient underwent a right upper lobectomy for localized lung adenocarcinoma and intraoperative pericardial fenestration confirmed that the pericardial effusion was not malignant. However, she began to experience dyspnea on exertion leading to admission. A chest, abdomen, and pelvis computed tomography scan confirmed the presence of right-sided pleural and pericardial effusion and ascites with a left ovarian mass. Repeated thoracentesis produced cultures that were negative for any microorganism and no malignant cells were detected in the pleural effusions. Pleural fluid accumulation persisted despite a tube thoracostomy for pleural effusion drainage. With a suspicion of Meigs' syndrome, the patient underwent surgical resection of the ovarian mass and histopathological examination of the resected mass showed ovarian fibroma. Pleural and pericardial effusion as well as ascites resolved after tumor resection, confirming a diagnosis of Meigs' syndrome. This clinical course suggests a strong association between pericardial effusion and ovarian fibroma, as well as pleural and peritoneal fluid.In female patients with unexplained pericardial effusion and an ovarian tumor, clinicians should consider the possibility of Meigs' syndrome. Although a malignant disease should be suspected in all patients with undiagnosed pleural and/or pericardial effusion, Meigs' syndrome is curable by tumor resection and should be differentiated from malignancy.