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Korean J Gastroenterol. 2010 Sep;56(3):168-185. Korean. Review.
Kim YS .
Department of Internal Medicine, Bucheon Hospital, Soon Chun Hyang University College of Medicine, Bucheon, Korea.

Ascites, hepatic encephalopathy and variceal hemorrhage are three major complications of portal hypertension. The diagnostic evaluation of ascites involves an assessment of its etiology by determining the serum-ascites albumin gradient and the exclusion of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis. Ascites is primarily related to an inability to excrete an adequate amount of sodium into urine, leading to a positive sodium balance. Sodium restriction and diuretic therapy are keys of ascites control. But, with the case of refractory ascites, large volume paracentesis and transjugular portosystemic shunts are required. In hepatorenal syndrome, splanchnic vasodilatation with reduction in effective arterial volume causes intense renal vasoconstriction. Splanchnic and/or peripheral vasoconstrictors with albumin infusion, and renal replacement therapy are only bridging therapy. Liver transplantation is the only definitive modality of improving the long term prognosis.

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