Meigs syndrome

Last revised by Dr Jake Ball on 07 Oct 2021

Meigs syndrome is defined as the presence of ascites and pleural effusion in association with a benign, usually solid ovarian tumor. In the vast majority (80-90%) of cases, the primary tumor is an ovarian fibroma. Less than 1% of ovarian tumors present with this syndrome 8. Other primary tumors include: 

Most presentations occur in post-menopausal women with peak incidence at approximately 7th decade of life. It is extremely rare in women aged less than 30 years old.

The pathophysiology of ascites in Meigs syndrome is speculative. It was initially suggested that irritation of the peritoneal surfaces by a hard, solid ovarian tumor could stimulate peritoneal fluid production. The pathophysiology of the pleural effusion is also speculative with some suggesting ascitic fluid being transferred via trans-diaphragmatic lymphatic channels into the pleural space.

The pleural fluid tends to be right sided in a majority (~60-70%) of cases.

The condition is benign and the ascites and pleural effusion resolve after resection of the primary pelvic tumor.

Named after Joe Vincent Meigs (1892-1963), an American (US) obstetrician and gynecologist  4.

General considerations include:

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