The relationship between trace elements in the serum and ascites of the cirrhotic patient was investigated because there is an interchange of protein, particularly albumin, between serum and ascitic fluid. To study this relationship, serum and ascitic fluid were obtained from 13 patients with biopsy-proved Laennec's cirrhosis. The trace element content of the ascitic fluid studied was less (22% to 73%) than that in serum. Protein fractions were all decreased in ascitic fluid compared with serum. Levels of zinc, calcium, copper, selenium in ascitic fluid correlated well with the ascitic fluid protein fractions. Thus, the trace element composition of ascitic fluid differed appreciably from that of serum, and seemed to correlate with the protein composition of the ascitic fluid in the case of zinc, copper, calcium, and selenium.
(Arch Intern Med 139:680-681, 1979)