Management of ascites due to gastrointestinal malignancy

Muhammad W. Saif, Imran A.P. Siddiqui, Muhammad A. Sohail

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ascites is the pathological accumulation of fluid within the abdominal cavity. The most common cancers associated with ascites are adenocarcinomas of the ovary, breast, colon, stomach and pancreas. Symptoms include abdominal distension, nausea, vomiting, early satiety, dyspnea, lower extremity edema, weight gain and reduced mobility. There are many potential causes of ascites in cancer patients, including peritoneal carcinomatosis, malignant obstruction of draining lymphatics, portal vein thrombosis, elevated portal venous pressure from cirrhosis, congestive heart failure, constrictive pericarditis, nephrotic syndrome and peritoneal infections. Depending on the clinical presentation and expected survival, a diagnostic evaluation is usually indicated as it will impact both prognosis and the treatment approach. Key tests include serum albumin and protein and a simultaneous diagnostic paracentesis, checking ascitic fluid, WBCs, albumin, protein and cytology. Median survival after diagnosis of malignant ascites is in the range of 1 to 4 months; survival is apt to be longer for ovarian and breast cancers if systemic anti-cancer treatments are available.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-377
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Saudi Medicine
Volume29
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009
Externally publishedYes

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