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Unusual Presentation of Giant Omental Cystic Lymphangioma Mimicking Hemorrhagic Ascites in a Child

Bruloy, Eva*; Haraux, Elodie*; Robert, Brice; Djeddi, Djamal; Buisson, Philippe*

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: January 2018 - Volume 66 - Issue 1 - p e19
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000001095
Image of the Month

*Department of Pediatric Surgery

Department of Radiology

Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, CHU Amiens, Salouël, Amiens, France.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Philippe Buisson, Pediatric Surgeon, Department of Pediatric Surgery, CHU Amiens, Avenue Laënnec, Salouël, 80054 Amiens, France (e-mail:

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Submissions for the Image of the Month should include high-quality TIF endoscopic images of unusual or informative findings. In addition, 1 or 2 other associated photographs, such as radiological or pathological images, can be submitted. A brief description of no more than 200 words should accompany the images. Submissions are to be made online at, and will undergo peer review by members of the NASPGHAN Endoscopy and Procedures Committee, as well as by the Journal.

A 3.5-year-old boy presented with isolated abdominal pain and distension. Laboratory tests were normal. Abdominal ultrasound showed a large amount of ascites. Paracentesis yielded 1 L of blood-stained fluid; fluid cytology demonstrated mature lymphocytes. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed clumped bowel loops overlying the spine and the complete absence of ascites between bowel loops and around the liver. Bowel loops were displaced by intraperitoneal, multiloculated, septated T1- and T2-hyperintense soft tissue corresponding to venous blood (Fig. 1). Laparotomy revealed a giant cystic lymphangioma of the greater omentum (Fig. 2). The patient is doing well 24 months after surgery with no signs of recurrence.





Cystic lymphangioma is a benign, mesodermal, congenital tumor that stems from abnormal lymphatic tissue development. Complications from cystic lymphangioma include acute inflammatory episodes, infection, and intracystic hemorrhage (1). Microscopically, the cyst wall consists of a single layer of flattened epithelium with tissue spaces that may or may not contain blood-filled capillaries. The poorly supported blood vessels in cystic lymphangiomas may bleed and produce enlargement and discoloration of the cyst (2). The giant lesion and its blood-stained content can lead to difficulty distinguishing this lesion from hemorrhagic ascites (3). Bloody ascites during childhood is extremely rare, caused by only a limited number of disorders, including peritoneal tuberculosis, dengue fever, and malignancies.

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1. Kosir MA, Sonnimo RE, Gauderer MW. Pediatric abdominal lymphangiomas: a plea for early recognition. J Pediatr Surg 1991; 26:1309–1313.
2. Chung JH, Suh YL, Park IA, et al. A pathologic study of abdominal lymphangiomas. J Korean Med Sci 1999; 14:257–262.
3. Konen O, Rathaus V, Dlugy E, et al. Childhood abdominal cystic lymphangioma. Pediatr Radiol 2002; 32:88–94.
© 2018 by European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology,