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Ascites

by Steven K. Herrine, MD

Ascites is free fluid in the peritoneal cavity. The most common cause is portal hypertension. Symptoms usually result from abdominal distention. Diagnosis is based on physical examination and often ultrasonography or CT. Treatments include bed rest, dietary Na restriction, diuretics, and therapeutic paracentesis. Ascitic fluid can become infected (spontaneous bacterial peritonitis), often with pain and fever. Diagnosis of infection involves analysis and culture of ascitic fluid. Infection is treated with antibiotics.

Drugs Mentioned In This Article

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  • LASIX
  • ALDACTONE

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