Ascites

Himali Meshram
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PATIENT EDUCATION
What is ascites?
Ascites is defined as pathological collection of fluid in abdominal cavity. Ascites in greek language means a bag or a sac.

What are the symptoms of ascites?
The patients usually present with abdominal distension, abdominal pain, increase in weight, difficulty in breathing, may also be associated with swelling over legs. This condition should be differentiated from other causes of abdominal distension like gaseous distension, obesity, bowel obstruction.

How do we diagnose ascites?
Your doctor will be able to diagnose ascites with clinical examination. If the fluid is less, ultrasound of abdomen, CT or MRI of abdomen are helpful to know the amount of fluid in abdomen and also to know the condition of liver, kidneys, any cancers etc. Blood investigations are helpful to determine the underlying cause of ascites. Ascitic fluid can be removed by a procedure called paracentesis and can be tested for infection, tuberculosis, malignancies, etc

How do we treat ascites?
Your doctor will advise salt restricted diet, diuretic drugs and if required albumin transfusion. If not responding to above measures, interventions in form of shunt surgery or trans jugular intrahepatic portosystemic stent shunt (TIPS) may be required. Liver transplantation may be required in cases of cirrhosis and decompensated liver disease. For ascites due to TB or infections, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics.

References
Ascites Ascites 10/02/2019
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