Ascites

Himali Meshram
Clinical Associate in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology, B J Wadia Hospital for Children, Mumbai, India.
First Created: 10/02/2019  Last Updated: 10/02/2019

Patient Education

What is ascites?

Ascites are defined as a pathological collection of fluid in the 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, an increase in weight, difficulty in breathing, may also be associated with swelling over the 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 the abdomen, CT, or MRI of the abdomen are helpful to know the amount of fluid in the abdomen and also to know the condition of the 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 a salt-restricted diet, diuretic drugs, and if required albumin transfusion. If not responding to the above measures, interventions in the 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.


1. Tomar BS. Int J Gastroenterol Hepatol Transpl Nutr 2016; 1(i): 55-73.
2. Bavdekar, A., Thakur, N. Indian J Pediatr (2016) 83: 1334.
3. Talawar K, Ramesh R Pol, Yelamali B. C. Clinical profile of ascites in children at tertiary care hospital, North Karnataka. Int J Pediatr Res.2016;3(6):410-415.
4. Ascites in Children: A Single-Center Experience of 27 Years. Karnsakul W, Ingviya T, Seaberg E, Laengvejkal P, Imteyaz H, Vasilescu A, Schwarz KB, Scheimann AO. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2017 Jan;64(1):83-88.


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