Ascites are defined as the buildup of free fluids in the abdomen. It is characterized by a distended belly, which may be accompanied by nonspecific clinical signs such as lethargy. Ascites are itself a symptom of other conditions, most commonly liver disease or right-side heart failure, and cannot be treated successfully without also addressing the underlying cause. The prognosis depends on the source of the ascites.
Free fluid can build up in the abdomen when blood flow is impeded, whether due to liver disease, heart failure, or other conditions. This buildup is referred to as ascites (or abdominal effusion) and is characterized by a distended abdomen. Treatment and prognosis will vary depending on the underlying cause, since removing the accumulated fluid will not fully resolve the condition and may, in fact, encourage ascites formation.
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