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About - Ascites

Abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen that may cause swelling. In late-stage cancer, tumor cells may be found in the fluid in the abdomen. Ascites also occurs in patients with liver disease.

Results: 14

Existing trials, of poor quality, indicate that antibiotic prophylaxis reduces spontaneous bacterial peritonitis among cirrhotic patients with ascites and no gastrointestinal bleeding

Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (infection and inflammation of the membrane lining the abdominal cavity) is a frequent complication among cirrhotic patients (patients with end‐stage liver disease marked by irreversible scarring of liver tissue) and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Selective intestinal decontamination, employing antibiotics, is a proposed prophylactic (preventive) measure. This systematic review of randomised clinical trials assesses whether antibiotic prophylaxis prevents spontaneous bacterial peritonitis and mortality among cirrhotic patients with ascites (excess fluid in the abdominal cavity) and no gastrointestinal bleeding. Nine trials are included in the review. The pooled rates of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis and mortality indicate that antibiotic prophylaxis reduces both. There are very few reports of adverse events. Reviewing these trials, we found poor methodology, evidence suggesting publication bias, and limited follow‐up periods. Thus, the recommendation to prescribe prophylactic antibiotics to cirrhotic patients without gastrointestinal bleeding is hampered by quality of the trials that generated the data. Due to potential hazards, both to society as a whole and the patients, as individuals, before antibiotic prophylaxis can be confidently recommended, trials of better design, well reported, and of longer follow‐up are required.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2009

Patients with refractory ascites may temporarily benefit from transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic stent‐shunts

Refractory ascites causes substantial morbidity in patients with cirrhosis. Randomised trials have compared transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic stent‐shunts with paracentesis. Mortality, gastrointestinal bleeding, renal failure, or infection did not differ significantly between the two intervention groups. Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic stent‐shunts effectively decreased the risk of ascites fluid re‐accumulation, but was associated with an increased risk of hepatic encephalopathy.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2009

Causes and signs of edema

Edema means swelling. The condition called edema arises when part of the body becomes swollen because fluid gathers in the tissue. It most commonly affects the arms and legs. That is called peripheral edema.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: November 21, 2013

Methods for the drainage of fluid containing cancer cells that collect in the abdomen in women with a gynaecological cancer

Patients with advanced ovarian cancer and some patients with advanced endometrial cancer often need repeated drainage for malignant ascites. Guidelines to advise those involved in the drainage of ascites are usually produced locally and are generally not evidence‐based but mainly based on clinicians' anecdotal evidence and experience.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Antibiotics for spontaneous bacterial peritonitis in cirrhotic patients

Cirrhosis is a severe end‐stage liver disease marked by irreversible scarring of liver tissue. Ascites (the accumulation of fluid in the abdomen), is one of the many complications associated with cirrhosis. Ascites is associated with poor quality of life, increased risk of infection, and renal failure. The presence of ascites is a sign of poor prognosis. Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (inflammation and infection of the membrane that is lining the abdominal cavity) is a complication of cirrhotic ascites that occurs in the absence of any intra‐abdominal, surgically treatable source of infection. Antibiotic therapy is indicated and should be initiated as soon as possible to avoid severe complications that may lead to death. This review aimed to evaluate the beneficial and harmful effects of different types and modes of antibiotic therapy in the treatment of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis in cirrhotic patients. Thirteen trials were included; each one of them compared different antibiotics in their experimental and control groups. No meta‐analyses could be performed, though data on the main outcomes were collected and analysed separately for each included trial. Based on the identified evidence, we cannot suggest the most appropriate management to treat spontaneous bacterial peritonitis in regard to the type, dosage, duration, or administration route of the antibiotic therapy. The clinical trials found dealt with different types of antibiotics, and, therefore, could not be combined. This review found no evidence that the effect or safety of one antibiotic is more beneficial than another. Further randomised clinical trials with an adequate design, including a large number of participants and sufficient duration should be carefully planned to provide a more precise estimate of the beneficial and harmful effects of antibiotic treatment for spontaneous bacterial peritonitis.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2009

Nutritional support for patients with liver disease

Patients with liver diseases, especially decompensated cirrhosis, commonly have weight loss and muscle wasting. It is known that such patients have poorer clinical outcomes than patients with similar diagnoses but without such weight loss or muscle wasting. If the problem is just deprivation of nutrients, it would be expected that the provision of some type of nutrition should result in better outcomes. Nutrients in addition to food, or in place of food when food is not taken in sufficient amounts, can be provided in a manner whereby the patient voluntarily consumes them by drinking various nutrient formulations. Nutrients can also be provided in an involuntary manner; tubes can be placed in the vein (parenteral nutrition) or intestinal tract (enteral nutrition) and nutrient solutions infused through them. All of these nutritional interventions have associated economic costs and also can produce a variety of complications (including vomiting, diarrhoea, and altered metabolic functions (for example, high blood sugar)). Thus, it is important to determine if such nutritional interventions (that is, the provision of nutrients in some manner other than just as food) do result in improvements in clinical outcomes. Since the best way to make such a determination is to undertake randomised trials, in which patients are assigned by chance to receive, or not receive, one or another of these treatments, this systematic review was undertaken to identify and summarise this information. Randomised trials comparing patients with liver diseases who were assigned to receive parenteral nutrition, enteral nutrition, or oral nutritional supplements to similar patients assigned not to receive any nutritional intervention were collected. The three nutritional interventions were considered separately. In addition, within each category of nutritional intervention, patients with medical conditions were compared separately from patients with surgical conditions. Thus there were six primary analyses, medical patients receiving or not receiving parenteral nutrition, surgical patients receiving or not receiving parenteral nutrition, medical patients receiving or not receiving enteral nutrition, surgical patients receiving or not receiving enteral nutrition, medical patients receiving or not receiving supplements by mouth, and surgical patients receiving or not receiving supplements by mouth. The outcomes of interest were mortality, hepatic morbidity (ascites, gastrointestinal bleeding, encephalopathy), quality of life, adverse events, infections, cost, duration of hospitalisation, jaundice, postoperative complications (only for the surgical trials), and nutritional outcomes (for example, body weight). A total of 37 randomised trials were identified. All but one had a high risk of systematic error (bias, that is overestimation of benefits and underestimation of harms). When the data were combined, most of the analyses failed to demonstrate a difference. There were some significant differences observed. These were that 1) parenteral nutrition reduced serum bilirubin more rapidly and improved one type of nutritional outcome (nitrogen balance) in medical patients with jaundice, and may have reduced some postoperative complications; 2) enteral nutrition may have improved nitrogen balance in medical patients, and reduced postoperative complications in surgical patients; and 3) supplements reduced the occurrence of ascites and also may have decreased the number of infections. Furthermore, the receipt of supplements (especially ones containing branched‐chain amino acids) may have been helpful in the treatment of patients with hepatic encephalopathy. No significant effects were seen from the use of supplements in surgical patients. None of these observed benefits can be said to be definitively present because of the presence of methodologic flaws in the trials, which may have produced an overestimation of the observed effect. Moreover, due to too few patients included in the trials with two few outcome measures, both spurious significant findings and spurious insignificant findings cannot be excluded. The data are not strong enough to justify a recommendation to use these nutritional interventions routinely. We need well‐designed and well‐conducted randomised trials to prove that such therapy is indeed efficacious.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2012

Treatment for POEMS syndrome (polyneuropathy, organomegaly, endocrinopathy, M‐protein, and skin changes)

POEMS syndrome is a rare disorder of the blood which can cause a polyneuropathy (nerve symptoms such as numbness, tingling, pain, and muscle weakness) but can also involve many of the organs of the body, causing enlarged organs or organomegaly (usually liver, spleen, and lymph nodes), changes in hormone production or endocrinopathy (gynecomastia in men), abnormal blood protein (M‐protein), and skin changes such as increased pigmentation or skin thickening. Its cause is not known. The quality of life of people with POEMS deteriorates because of progressive neuropathy, and accumulation of fluid in the limbs or in the abdominal cavity or cavity around the lungs. It is a potentially fatal disease, and serious complications can arise due to multiorgan failure. There is no established treatment regimen, but potentially effective treatments that have been tried include chemotherapy, irradiation, corticosteroids, thalidomide or lenalidomide, and blood stem cell transplantation. This review found no randomized controlled trials of treatments for POEMS syndrome. Prospective treatment trials are needed to establish the relative values of different treatments.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2012

Medically assisted hydration to assist palliative care patients

It is common for palliative care patients to have reduced fluid intake during their illness. Management of this condition includes discussion with the patient, family and staff involved, and may include the provision of fluids with medical assistance. This can be performed using a small plastic tube inserted into a vein or under the skin, or via a tube inserted into the stomach. It is unknown whether this treatment helps people to feel better or live longer.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Interferon for interferon nonresponding and relapsing patients with chronic hepatitis C

Antiviral treatment for chronic hepatitis C infections is currently judged as being successful if, at least six months after therapy, blood tests for hepatitis C viral RNA are negative; this has been called a sustained viral response. In the past, other outcomes for treatment have included improvements in biochemical tests (especially liver enzyme tests such as the serum alanine aminotransferase) or evidence of reduced inflammation and/or fibrosis on subsequent liver biopsies. All of these outcomes are tests, and it has been assumed that if the test gets better the patient will as well. However, there is no direct evidence that has proven that these outcomes are valid because there have been no long‐term trials that have shown that an improvement in these tests translates into reduced mortality or morbidity. Patients who fail to have sustained viral responses after an initial course of therapy do become potential candidates for retreatment; some of them may be intolerant to ribavirin, and possibly even the newer protease inhibitors, so retreatment would have to be with interferon alone. It has also been speculated that long‐term treatment (namely treatment for several years) might be beneficial; such long‐term therapy would be further complicated if multiple drugs were used because of the additional drug toxicities and costs, so interferon alone could be considered. This review addressed the ability of interferon monotherapy to favorably alter the clinical course of chronic hepatitis C when it is used to retreat patients who failed at least one previous course of therapy. Seven trials were identified, including two large ones (a total of 1676 patients), known as "HALT‐C" and "EPIC3", that specifically were designed to use low‐dose pegylated interferon for three to five years in patients with evidence on liver biopsy of severe fibrosis and who had failed to have a sustained viral response to a course of standard combination (pegylated interferon plus ribavirin) therapy in the past. Both trials were at low risk of bias. A third trial designed to address the use of pegylated interferon monotherapy for 48 weeks in improving survival in patients with cirrhosis (Childs A or B) was terminated early because of the results of the HALT‐C and EPIC3 trials, so three trials have provided mortality and hepatic morbidity data. When all three trials were considered, there was no significant effect of the treatment on either all‐cause mortality (78/843 (9.3%) versus 62/867 (7.2%); risk ratio (RR) 1.30, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.95 to 1.79; 3 trials) or hepatic mortality (41/532 (7.7%) versus 40/552 (7.2%); RR 1.07, 95% CI 0.70 to 1.63; 2 trials); however, all‐cause mortality was higher in the recipients of the pegylated interferon (78/828 (9.4%) versus 5 7/848 (6.7%); RR 1.41, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.96) when only the two low risk of bias trials were considered. The excess deaths appeared to be from non‐liver causes. Variceal bleeding occurred less often in the treated patients (4/843 (0.5%) versus 18/867 (2.1%); RR 0.24, 95% CI 0.09 to 0.67), but there were no differences seen with regard to the subsequent development of other manifestations of end‐stage liver disease (that is, encephalopathy, ascites, hepatocellular carcinoma, liver transplantation). One trial reported quality of life data; the treated patients had increases in their pain scores. No cost data were available. The recipients of the pegylated interferon generally had more adverse events; statistically significant differences were seen for the occurrence of hematologic complications, infections, flu‐like symptoms, and rashes. Those receiving interferon were more likely to have sustained viral responses (20/557 (3.6%) versus 1/579 (0.2%); RR 15.38, 95% CI 2.93 to 80.71) and were also more likely to have improvements in markers of inflammation. No difference was demonstrated regarding the effect of the treatment on markers of fibrosis. The use of longer‐term (several years) interferon monotherapy in patients with severe underlying hepatic fibrosis who have failed previous courses of treatment is not supported by the evidence; no trials providing data regarding clinical outcomes were identified in other potential treatment scenarios. Two of the commonly employed surrogate markers, sustained viral response and markers of inflammation, failed to be validated since they improved even though the clinical outcomes did not (or may even have become worse). This failure to validate the sustained viral response in this group of patients with a low sustained viral response rate suggests that the presumed validity of the use of sustained viral responses in other groups of patients with chronic hepatitis C viral infections who receive treatment must be formally validated.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Bile acids for primary sclerosing cholangitis

Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a chronic cholestatic liver disease characterised by progressive inflammation and scarring of liver bile ducts. Destruction of bile ducts leads to incidence of bile flow to the gut, resulting in the development of biliary cirrhosis and end‐stage liver disease. PSC is most common in young males and its aetiology is still not fully understood. The disease is usually classified as an autoimmune disorder, but other aetiological factors cannot be excluded. There is a strong association of PSC with inflammatory bowel diseases, particularly ulcerative colitis, which coexists in approximately 70% of patients. Besides its progressive and irreversible nature, PSC is also associated with an increased risk for cholangiocarcinoma, which contributes to an even higher morbidity and mortality of this disease.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2011

Corticosteroids for treating dengue infection in children and adults

Dengue is a disease caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes, occurring in many resource‐limited countries, and children are often most severely affected. Most infected patients will recover with mild symptoms, but a few progress to severe dengue and may die. There is no specific treatment for dengue, but some clinicians provide corticosteroids at an early stage to prevent progression to severe dengue disease; and some treat patients with dengue‐related shock with corticosteroids to improve survival. It is important to summarise the effects of corticosteroids in dengue.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2014

Ursodeoxycholic acid for primary biliary cirrhosis

Primary biliary cirrhosis is an uncommon and slowly progressive autoimmune disease of the liver that primarily affects middle‐aged women. The cause of the disease is unknown. Over the last 30 years, the prevalence of primary biliary cirrhosis has increased substantially. Primary biliary cirrhosis is now a frequent cause of liver morbidity, and the patients are significant users of health resources, including liver transplantation.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2012

Cardiopulmonary Syndromes (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about common conditions that produce chest symptoms. The cardiopulmonary syndromes addressed in this summary are cancer-related dyspnea, malignant pleural effusion, pericardial effusion, and superior vena cava syndrome.

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: September 16, 2014

Gastric Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of gastric cancer.

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: April 17, 2014

Systematic Reviews in PubMed

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