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Clin Liver Dis. 2005 Nov;9(4):715-32, viii.

Management of ascites in cirrhosis.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, MCV Box 980341, Richmond, VA 23298, USA.


Onset of ascites in cirrhosis of the liver is associated with worsened quality of life, increased risk of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, and renal failure. Portal hypertension produces splanchnic vasodilation that triggers the cascade of events leading to release of Na retentive vasoconstrictor hormones. Management of ascites caused by cirrhosis is based on improving the Na excretion with diuretics and Na restriction in diet. Refractory ascites and hepatorenal syndrome are the complications of ascites that carry a very high mortality. Large volume paracentesis and transjugular intrahepatic porto-systemic shunts are useful in managing patients with refractory ascites. Liver transplant is the only way to improve survival in ascites caused by cirrhosis.

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