Ascites Topic Guide
Ascites: Ascites is an accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity (abdominal cavity). The primary cause of ascites is liver disease such as cirrhosis, acute liver failure (Tylenol, acetaminophen overdose), Budd-Chiari syndrome, and cancer. Other causes of ascites include congestive heart failure, nephrotic syndrome, pancreatic disorders, diseases of the ovary, hypothyroidism, and direct irritation of the peritoneum. Symptoms of ascites abdominal pain, shortness of breath, easy bruising, and edema (swelling). Treatment for ascites depends on the cause.
Liver Blood Tests Liver blood tests, or liver function tests, are used to detect and diagnose disease or inflammation of the liver. Elevated aminotransferase (ALT, AST) levels are measured as well as alkaline phosphatase, albumin, and bilirubin. Some diseases that cause abnormal levels of ALT and AST include hepatitis A, B, and C, cirrhosis, iron overload, and Tylenol liver damage. Medications also cause elevated liver enzymes. There are less common conditions and diseases that also cause elevated liver enzyme levels.