Ascites

Progress in treatment of massive ascites and hepatorenal syndrome.

Gerbes AL, Gulberg V.
World J Gastroenterol. 2006 Jan 28;12(4):516-519.

Department of Medicine II, Klinikum of the University of Munich-Grosshadern, Marchioninistr. 15, 81377 Munich, Germany. gerbes@med.uni-muenchen.de.

Massive ascites and hepatorenal syndrome (HRS) are frequent complications of liver cirrhosis. Thus, effective therapy is of great clinical importance. This concise review provides an update of recent advances and new developments. Therapeutic paracentesis can be safely performed even in patients with severe coagulopathy.

Selected patients with a refractory or recurrent ascites are good candidates for non-surgical portosystemic shunts (TIPS) and may have a survival benefit and improvement of quality of life. Novel pharmaceutical agents mobilizing free water (aquaretics) are currently under test for the therapeutic potential in patients with ascites. Prophylaxis of hepatorenal syndrome in patients with spontaneous bacterial peritonitis is recommended and should be considered in patients with alcoholic hepatitis. Liver transplantation is the best therapeutic option with long-term survival benefit for patients with HRS. To bridge the time until transplantation, TIPS or Terlipressin and albumin are good options. Albumin dialysis can not be recommended outside prospective trials.