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Review article: Recent advances in ascites and acute kidney injury management in cirrhosis.

BACKGROUND: Better understanding of disease pathophysiology has led to advances in managing ascites and its associated complications including hepatorenal syndrome-acute kidney Injury (HRS-AKI), especially medicinal and interventional advances.

AIM: To review the latest changes in the management of ascites and HRS-AKI.

METHODS: A literature search was conducted in Pubmed, using the keywords cirrhosis, ascites, renal dysfunction, acute kidney injury, hepatorenal syndrome, beta-blockers, albumin, TIPS and vasoconstrictors, including only publications in English.

RESULTS: The medicinal advances include earlier treatment of clinically significant portal hypertension to delay the onset of ascites and the use of human albumin solution to attenuate systemic inflammation thus improving the haemodynamic changes associated with cirrhosis. Furthermore, new classes of drugs such as sodium glucose co-transporter 2 are being investigated for use in patients with cirrhosis and ascites. For HRS-AKI management, newer pharmacological agents such as vasopressin partial agonists and relaxin are being studied. Interventional advances include the refinement of TIPS technique and patient selection to improve outcomes in patients with refractory ascites. The development of the alfa pump system and the study of outcomes associated with the use of long-term palliative abdominal drain will also serve to improve the quality of life in patients with refractory ascites.

CONCLUSIONS: New treatment strategies emerged from better understanding of the pathophysiology of ascites and HRS-AKI have shown improved prognosis in these patients. The future will see many of these approaches confirmed in large multi-centre clinical trials with the aim to benefit the patients with ascites and HRS-AKI.

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