Ascites

How Do I Know What Is Causing My Swelling?

Blood work may be helpful in determining the cause of ascites, as a complete metabolic panel may detect any injury to the liver as well as level of liver function.

In some cases, to determine the cause of the excessive abdominal fluid, it must be removed and analyzed through paracentesis. Paracentesis involves placing a needle into the abdomen where the fluid is accumulated to draw out fluid for examination. If the ascites is due to liver disease, the fluid will be clear, yellow, uninfected and have a low cell count.

If a fever accompanies the abdominal swelling, a bacterial infection can also be involved and must be treated immediately. Abdominal paracentesis with analysis of the ascitic fluid should be done in patients with new onset ascites, those requiring hospitalization because of ascites and those whose condition deteriorates during hospitalization.

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