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Gut Liver. 2012 Jul;6(3):355-61. doi: 10.5009/gnl.2012.6.3.355. Epub 2012 Jul 12.

Effect of a diet with unrestricted sodium on ascites in patients with hepatic cirrhosis.

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Department of Liver Disease, Wuxi Hospital for Infectious Diseases, Wuxi, China.



There has been debate on whether a sodium-restricted diet (SRD) should be used in cirrhotic patients with ascites in China in recent years. The purpose of this study was to compare the effect of sodium-restricted and unrestricted diets on plasma renin activity (PRA), renal blood flow (RBF) and ascites in patients with liver cirrhosis.


Two hundred cirrhotic patients with ascites were randomly divided into two groups (98 cases in the sodium-unrestricted diet [SUD] group and 102 cases in the SRD group); 95 patients (96.94%) in the SUD group and 97 patients (95.1%) in the SRD group had post-hepatitis B cirrhosis.


Blood sodium and RBF were higher in SUD group than in SRD group (p<0.001), while PRA were significantly lower in SUD group than the SRD group 10 days after treatment (p<0.001). Renal impairment caused by low blood sodium was higher in SRD group than in SUD group (p<0.01). Ascites disappeared in higher proportion of patients in SUD group than in SRD group (p<0.001).


SUD can increase the level of blood sodium and RBF, and be beneficial to diuresis and ascite reduction and disappearance.


Albumin; Ascites; Liver cirrhosis; Renal circulation; Sodium-unrestricted diet

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