ascites

Ascites is a medical complication, often from another medical condition, when there is a pooling of fluid into the abdomen.

It can also be referred to as an accumulation of serous fluid in the peritoneal cavity or hydroperitoneum

This abnormality can be seen in:

–  Portal Hypertension with an increase in portal pressure
–  Cirrhosis  [Ascites can often be seen in 8 out 10 patients with cirrhosis]
–  Liver Disease
–  Cancer
–  Heart Failure

The diagnosis of Ascites can be done by:

–  Blood work
–  Ultrasound
–  Fluid removal by a needle
–  CT exam may be useful to determine cause as well.

Abdominal paracentesis

–  Fluid removal by needle
–  Often done to analyze the fluid itself
–  Can help determine the cause of the ascities.

CategoriesTransudate” and “Exudate

1.)  Transudate

–  Due to an increase in pressure.
–  Can be seen in Cirrhosis
–  Can be seen in Portal hypertension

2.)  Exudative

–  Due to an increase in protein.
–  Can be seen in Inflammation
–  Can be seen in malignancy

Symptoms:

–  Distention of abdomen
–  Shortness of breath
–  Abdominal bloating or “heavyness”
–  Leg swelling
–  Chronic Fatigue
–  Weight loss
–  Weight gain

Treatment

Often dependent on the cause agent, but may include:

1.)  Fluid removal  [Parancentesis]

2.)  Diuretic Medication:

         . Spirolactone
         . Amiloride
         . Triamterene
         . Furosemide
         . Bumetanide
         . Torasemide

3.)  Water restriction

4.)  Liver Transplant  [ In some cases]

5.)  Shunting  [Liver]

6.)  Other

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