Thickening and scarring of the sac like covering of the heart
Kidney dialysis may also be associated with ascites.
When just a small amount of fluid has collected in the belly, there may be no symptoms. Symptoms often develop slowly or suddenly, but a rapid buildup of fluid and symptoms may occur with some causes of ascites.
As more fluid collects, abdominal pain and bloating may occur. When a large amount of ascites is present shortness of breath may develop also.
Signs and tests
A physical examination may reveal a swollen abdomen, or belly.
Test to evaluate the liver may be done, including:
Mental confusion, change in the level of alertness, or coma (hepatic encephalopathy)
Other complications of liver cirrhosis
Calling your health care provider
Anyone who has ascites and develops new abdominal pain and fever should contact their health care provider immediately.
Runyon BA; AASLD Practice Guidelines Committee. Management of adult patients with ascites due to cirrhosis: an update. Hepatology. 2009;49(6):2087-2107.
Mehta G, Rothstein KD. Health maintenance issues in cirrhosis.Med Clin North Am. 2009;93:901-915.
Garcia-Tsao G. Cirrhosis and its sequelae. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds.Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 156.
David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. and George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California.