Patients with high peripheral leukocyte counts are sometimes found to have high leukocyte counts in ascitic fluid in the presence of negative cultures. To determine if peripheral leukocytosis ( 20 × 109/L) by itself can result in high leukocyte or neutrophil counts in ascites, 29 patients were studied. A total of 31 paracenteses were performed in these patients as soon as the high peripheral leukocyte count was determined. Culture of ascitic fluid was performed using blood-culture bottles. The mean peripheral leukocyte count was 29.3 ± 9.3 ×109/L, with a mean neutrophil count of 19.9±6.5×109/L. The mean ascitic fluid neutrophil count was 0.064 ± 0.054 ×109/L (range, 0.007 to 0.197 × 109/L). No significant correlation was found between peripheral neutrophil (or leukocyte) count and neutrophil (or leukocyte) count in ascitic fluid. Marked peripheral leukocytosis (or neutrophilia) does not seem to have an effect on the leukocyte or neutrophil count in ascitic fluid.
(Arch Intern Med. 1991;151:509-510)