Ascites


CONDITIONS

Ascites

When fluid builds up in the abdominal cavity causing symptoms such as abdominal bloating, nausea, shortness of breath and weight gain, the technical term for this condition is ascites. While ascites is primarily associated with advanced liver disease (specifically cirrhosis), other conditions such as heart failure and kidney failure may also be responsible for the condition. Medical treatment of ascites depends on the specific cause, but patients whose ascites is tied to cirrhosis may receive diuretic medications that stimulate the kidneys to excrete salt and water. In some cases, therapeutic paracentesis is provided, wherein a needle is used to drain the abdomen of excess fluid. More rarely, surgical intervention for ascites can include the installation of special shunts to reduce portal pressure and, as a final resort, liver transplant may be considered.
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