Ascites: Diagnosis and Management

Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Department of Internal Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, MCV Box 980341, Richmond, VA 23298-0341, USA.
The Medical clinics of North America (Impact Factor: 2.61). 08/2009; 93(4):801-17, vii. DOI: 10.1016/j.mcna.2009.03.007
Source: PubMed


Ascites is the pathologic accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity and is a common manifestation of liver failure, being one of the cardinal signs of portal hypertension. The diagnostic evaluation of ascites involves an assessment of its cause by determining the serum-ascites albumin gradient and the exclusion of complications eg, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis. Although sodium restriction and diuretics remain the cornerstone of ascites management, many patients require additional therapy when they become refractory to such medical treatment. These include repeated large volume paracentesis and transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunts. This review article summarizes diagnostic tools and provides an evidence-based approach to the management of ascites.

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    • "Several studies have shown that routine cytopathology using ascitic fluid smears is positive for malignant cells in two out of 10 patients with ascites [12]. This is because, unless the ascitic fluid is cytospun, smears on slides will give false-negative results since the malignant cells are widely dispersed in the vast amounts of ascitic fluid. "
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    ABSTRACT: Adenocarcinoma of the colon is the most common histopathological type of colorectal cancer. In Western Europe and the United States, it is the third most common type and accounts for 98% of cancers of the large intestine. In Uganda, as elsewhere in Africa, the majority of patients are elderly (at least 60 years old). However, more recently, it has been observed that younger patients (less than 40 years of age) are presenting with the disease. There is also an increase in its incidence and most patients present late, possibly because of the lack of a comprehensive national screening and preventive health-care program. We describe the clinicopathological features of colorectal carcinoma in the case of a young man in Kampala, Uganda. A 27-year-old man from Kampala, Uganda, presented with gross abdominal distension, progressive loss of weight, and fever. He was initially screened for tuberculosis, hepatitis, and lymphoma, and human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome infection. After a battery of tests, a diagnosis of colorectal carcinoma was finally established with hematoxylin and eosin staining of a cell block made from the sediment of a liter of cytospun ascitic fluid, which showed atypical glands floating in abundant extracellular mucin, suggestive of adenocarcinoma. Ancillary tests with alcian blue/periodic acid Schiff and mucicarmine staining revealed that it was a mucinous adenocarcinoma. Immunohistochemistry showed strong positivity with CDX2, confirming that the origin of the tumor was the colon. Colorectal carcinoma has been noted to occur with increasing frequency in young adults in Africa. Most patients have mucinous adenocarcinoma, present late, and have rapid disease progression and poor outcome. Therefore, colorectal malignancy should no longer be excluded from consideration only on the basis of a patient's age. A high index of suspicion is important in the diagnosis of colorectal malignancy in young African patients.
    Journal of Medical Case Reports 02/2012; 6:58. DOI:10.1186/1752-1947-6-58
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    • "Ascites is the pathologic accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity and is a common manifestation of liver failure, being one of the cardinal signs of PH [148]. Ascitic fluid formation is a not well-known pathogenic mechanism. "
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    ABSTRACT: Portal hypertension induces a splanchnic and systemic low-grade inflammatory response that could induce the expression of three phenotypes, named ischemia-reperfusion, leukocytic, and angiogenic phenotypes.During the splanchnic expression of these phenotypes, interstitial edema, increased lymph flow, and lymphangiogenesis are produced in the gastrointestinal tract. Associated liver disease increases intestinal bacterial translocation, splanchnic lymph flow, and induces ascites and hepatorenal syndrome. Extrahepatic cholestasis in the rat allows to study the worsening of the portal hypertensive syndrome when associated with chronic liver disease. The splanchnic interstitium, the mesenteric lymphatics, and the peritoneal mesothelium seem to create an inflammatory pathway that could have a key pathophysiological relevance in the production of the portal hypertension syndrome complications. The hypothetical comparison between the ascitic and the amniotic fluids allows for translational investigation. From a phylogenetic point of view, the ancestral mechanisms for amniotic fluid production were essential for animal survival out of the aquatic environment. However, their hypothetical appearance in the cirrhotic patient is considered pathological since ultimately they lead to ascites development. But, the adult human being would take advantage of the potential beneficial effects of this "amniotic-like fluid" to manage the interstitial fluids without adverse effects when chronic liver disease aggravates.
    10/2010; 2010:148689. DOI:10.4061/2010/148689
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Requests for testing various analytes in serous fluids (e.g. pleural, peritoneal, pericardial effusions) are submitted daily to clinical laboratories. Testing of these fluids deviates from assay manufacturers' specifications, as most laboratory assays are optimized for testing blood or urine specimens. These requests add a burden to clinical laboratories, which need to validate assay performance characteristics in these fluids to exclude matrix interferences (given the different composition of body fluids) while maintaining regulatory compliance. Body fluid testing for a number of analytes has been reported in the literature; however, understanding the clinical utility of these analytes is critical because laboratories must address the analytic and clinical validation requirements, while educating clinicians on proper test utilization. In this article, we review the published data to evaluate the clinical utility of testing for numerous analytes in body fluid specimens. We also highlight the pre-analytic and analytic variables that need to be considered when reviewing published studies in body fluid testing. Finally, we provide guidance on how published studies might (or might not) guide interpretation of test results in today's clinical laboratories.
    Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences 10/2013; 50(4-5):107-24. DOI:10.3109/10408363.2013.844679 · 3.69 Impact Factor
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