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Information on Ascitic Fluid and Serum Ascites Albumin Gradient

Submitted on March 27, 2012

What Is Ascitic fluid?

Ascitic fluid is a fluid that is also called peritoneal cavity fluid. This is a fluid that is normally a part of an area of the body called the peritoneum, which consists of the digestive cavity. Ascitic fluids exist to lubricate the organs and ensure smooth movement of the organs against each other. Problems can happen in this innocuous are as well as can be seen in ascites. This is a condition in which so much fluid accumulates that it inflates the abdomen to the point where it protrudes forward. Ascites fluid can determine the root cause of the reason why the accumulation happened in the first place. The test for the fluid is called a paracentesis test and is conducted to check the consistency of the fluid and also as a therapeutic method to remove the fluid.

Serum Ascites Albumin Gradient

To the question of what is ascites fluid, the Serum Ascites Albumin Gradient is usually a good test to show where the real problem that causes fluid accumulation lies. A high SAAG count would indicate that there is a problem with the liver like cirrhosis, blockage of the hepatic vein, constrictive pericarditis, or a condition called kwashiorkor - a disease that is characteristic of edema in malnourished children in famine-hit, third world countries. A low SAAG indicates that there could be an infection, cancer, an inflammation of the serous tissues, pancreas, and proteinuria.

The treatment of this condition starts with managing the amount of ascites fluid by first removing some of the sodium content in the body. This will cause excess fluid which would be excreted in urine; therefore, diuretics are the first course of treatment along with aldosterone antagonists. Restricting water intake is also advised. Along with this, sometimes a severe cases of the condition requires an elaborate paracentesis for a few hours to drain the transudates and exudates. These are all treatments that are use when the SAAG measurement is high.

If the SAAG measurement is low then repeated paracentesis is the only thing that will help along with treating the root cause of the problem that could be an infection somewhere in the body. Diuretics are of no use in this situation because the kidneys are anyways affected. Signs of this disease need to be noticed early on especially when the patient starts to put on a lot of weight and the abdomen starts to distend downwards indicating the accumulation of fluids.