Management of ascites in the patient with portal hypertension with emphasis on spontaneous bacterial peritonitis

M Navasa, J Rodés
Seminars in Gastrointestinal Disease 1997, 8 (4): 200-9
The reintroduction of paracentesis has modified the way in which patients with ascites are treated. Transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt can be an alternative treatment for patients with refractory ascites and for those patients with hepatorenal syndrome, although more studies are needed to clarify its usefulness and safety. The use of more potent and less nephrotoxic antibiotics together with an earlier diagnosis have improved the outcome of patients with spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP). Oral antibiotics can be used in patients with SBP and good clinical conditions with an efficacy similar to that obtained with intravenous antibiotics. Prophylactic antibiotics in SBP should be restricted to cirrhotic patients at high risk, including bleeding cirrhotic patients, those with a past history of SBP, and those with low protein content in ascitic fluid. This chapter describes the management of ascites in patients with portal hypertension.

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