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Ascites



A condition with axcess fluid acuumulation in the abdominal cavity. Its a menisfestation of other underlying disease. Most common cause is advanced liver failure, It may occur in tuberculosis, heart & kidney failure, cancer and other rare medical conditions..

In early stage with mild fluid there are hardly any symptoms except that of underlying disease but as more fluid accumulates, the abdomen begins to swell and may be accompanied by loss of appetite, feeling of fullness after eating or abdominal pain, tightness or heviness. It may cause low back pain, changes in bowel function, weight gain and fatigue. This may be accompnied by day timw , edema (swelling) of the legs as gravity pulls fluid downward. In extreme cases the fluid may extend up into the chest cavity (pleural effusion) and cause difficulty breathing.


Frequently Asked Questions about Ascites

1How is Ascites diagnosed?
In many cases ascites is incidently detected when an ultrasound or CT scan is done for other reason. Based on symptoms like fullness in abdomen and after clinical exam, your physician may oder a ultrasound or CT scan to diagnose ascites.
2What is the treatment for aciites?
Mainstay for treatment of ascites is the treatment of underlying cause. In case of acites due to advanced liver failure or cirrhosis of the liver, patients must stop all alcohol consumption as well as drugs that damage the liver. Multiple options in varoius combination are used to reduce fluid accumulation like:

  • Restricting sodium (salt) intake.
  • Diuretic therapy (water pills) to excrete extra sodium and water.
  • For those not responding to above treatment, large volume.
  • Therapeutic paracentesis (using a local anesthetic to insert a needle through the abdominal wall) may be used.
  • Patients will be closely monitored by their physician to track body.
  • Weight, kidney function and levels of sodium and potassium in the blood during all above treatments.
  • 3Does anything happen if there is fluid but I have no other symptoms?
    Your physician may perform a diagnostic abdominal paracentesis to draw out a small amount of fluid to be used in lab tests that may help find (or confirm) the source of the Ascites. Depending on the results, these tests may point to liver or heart failure, infection or cancer, bacterial infection, tuberculosis or, in rare cases, pancreatic disease. In the case of infection, lab results also are used to determine the most appropriate antibiotic to use for treatment.
    4Are there other complications?
    The symptoms of Ascites can be very distressing and interfere with your quality of life. The condition may also put you at risk for infection and kidney disease.
    5Is Ascites a serious condition?
    The accumulated fluid is not life-threatening, but it is an indicator of advanced liver disease or other serious, potentially life-threatening underlying conditions.

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