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Detecting ascites

Martin Veysey
Med J Aust 2016; 205 (2): 59-61. || doi: 10.5694/mja16.00354
Published online: 18 July 2016

Most cases can be diagnosed by good clinical assessment at the bedside

The presence of ascites is a common physical finding and the detection of ascites is important for both diagnostic and prognostic reasons. Ascites is defined as the pathological accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity.1 It may be due to a number of causes (Box 1). The most common is portal hypertension as a result of cirrhosis (> 75%) but malignancy (10%), heart failure (3%) and infection (2%) are other possibilities.1

  • Martin Veysey

  • Teaching and Research Unit, University of Newcastle, Gosford, NSW


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

Series editors
Balakrishnan (Kichu) R Nair
Simon O’Connor

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