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
Publication of your online response is subject to the Medical Journal of Australia's editorial discretion. You will be notified by email within five working days should your response be accepted.