What is it?

Ascites is an abnormal accumulation of fluids in the abdomen. Ascites is caused due to increased pressure in the hepatic veins by cirrhosis, heart failure or kidney failure. The increased pressure blocks blood flow to the liver. Risk factors for ascites include any disease that may cause damage to the liver such as viral infections, alcohol abuse, abdomen malignancies, kidney failure and congestive heart failure.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Fluid in peritoneal cavity
- Malignant Ascites

Signs & symptoms

Signs and symptoms of ascites include shortness of breath, nausea, led edema, indigestion, vomiting, heartburn, loss of appetite, fever and hernia.


Ascites diagnosis is based upon physical examination and medical history. Then, imaging tests such as ultrasound or CT scan may be performed along with blood work. Paracentesis is a procedure in which a needle is used to remove fluid from the abdomen for testing.


Treatment for ascites may include lifestyle changes- patients may have to reduce salty foods, give up alcohol and limit fluid intake. Diuretics such as furosemide or spironolactone. Furthemore, paracentesis may help to remove large amounts of excess fluid, though it may recur. If all these measures fail, a surgery to replace a shunt may be needed.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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