Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Expert Forum
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My husband was diagnosed with Cirrhosis six months ago.  Our healt plan has refused to refer him to a specialist.  They have referred hm\im to an internal medicine physician.  

This doctor has placed him on diuretics which have reduced the swelling in his feet and legs.  But his abdomen is quite bloated.  The doctor refuses to drain the fluid.  He insists that it would do no good as the fluid would return in a week or two.  Is this true?

Should we insist on a gastroeligist?  Should we insist that the fluid be drained?

Also,my husband has been told no alcohol.  But he is still drinking four to six ounces of vodka daily.
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Cirrhosis is end-stage liver disease.  Depending on the severity of the disease, your doctor is right - fluid that is removed will tend to re-accumulate.  

If there is marked discomfort or pain due the buildup of fluid, then drainage can be tried for a period of relief.  This can be done with the knowledge that it may re-accumulate in the near future.  

There can be a shunt that may be considered (known as the TIPS procedure), but again, this should be considered on an individual basis.  

At this time, I would abstain from alcohol - there would be no one that would consider any procedure if he continues to drink alcohol.  

And yes, I would consider a GI evaluation at this time, preferably a liver specialist.

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
Medical Weblog:
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11 Comments
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Please tell your husband to try to stop drinking? If he continues it will kill him. I went through liver failure and had ascites. They drained my stomach twice a week for a month. I hope everything goes well for you.
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You said they drained your stomach twice a month. Was this for one month or longer?

Are you cured?  They keep telling us that the liver will build new cells.

My husband quit drinking for about four months.  But, when this didn't apprear to be helping he started again.

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Avatar_n_tn
I misundeerstood.  You said they drained your stomach twice a week for a month.

After that one month did the fluid come back and are you now well

Thank you. I really need someone to talk to
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The ascites went away on it's own after I was released from the hospital. I am okay now and recently had a liver ultrasound and my test came back normal. Tell your husband if he stops drinking everything can get better but, he must STOP all alcohol. If he end up in the hospital from liver failure you don't have much of a chance ( mine was 10 percent) of living.
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did they put you in the hospital to drain the fluid? I was under the impression that this was an out-patient procedure.
Did you have cirrhosis?  And did your liver cure itself or did they do something besides draining the fluid?  Were you seeing a specialist or a doctor of internal medicine?  Was your problem created by alcohol.

Sorry I have so many questions that doctors don't seem to want to answer.
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My hospitalization was due to liver failure from alcohol. While I was in there they had to drain the fluid. I'm not sure about the out-patient procedure. I also had kidney failure so I had any doctor that I needed while I was in the hospital. I have a biopsy that says I have cirrhosis but I also have an ultrasound test that's normal so I'm still a little confused myself on that.
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Thank you
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Good Luck! Just don't give up on your husband. He will need you now more than ever.
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whether the fluid returns or not depends on many things: the more severe the liver damage, the poorer his nutritional status, the lower the ability of the liver to manufacture protein -- the more likely it is to return. If he continues to drink, nothing will do any good. The main reason to drain the fluid is if it is interfering with his ability to breathe, by pushing upward on his diaphragm. It's generally done for such short-term reasons. As a long-term treatment, it's generally not useful. Those in whom the fluid goes away are generally those whose livers are acutely damaged, and which can recover rapidly from whatever insult it received. For those with severe chronic cirrhosis, with intractable ascites, sometimes a mechanical shunt is placed from the belly to the jugular vein. If he chooses to continue drinking, and uses as the excuse the fact that nothing changed when he quit, there's not much you can do. The fact is that if he could compare himself in six months or a year (if he lives that long) to how he'd be if he stopped versus how he'd be if he continued, there'd be a difference, because of continued damage.
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please check out this site because there are alot of folks there that have alot of experience with this...they can guide you...there is also alot of info on this problem...i pray your husband will accept help before it's too late...

http://forums.delphiforums.com/liverfailure/messages
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My husband is having a problem keeping food down.  He is ok when he lies down but when he stands up he starts gagging and either vomits or has the dry heaves.  Anyone know about this?

Also, has anyone heard of a herbal treatment called livercare/liv.52.  I saw it on the internet and they say it helps cirrohis.  

Thanks

Pat

I am getting desperate
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