317787 tn?1473358451

removing fluid from abdomen from cirrhosis

Hi all.  I have a friend who is in the hospital right now.  He is suffering from edema in legs so badly the legs are weeping.  He looks about 8 months pregnant.  He went to the ER hoping they would/could drain the fluid from his abdomen to ease his breathing.  He is taking two medications that are diuretics.  He is being told that the ultrasound is showing the fluid is not in the right "pocket" to remove it.
I am hoping someone can help with this. I thought it was a simple matter to remove the fluid.  This shows my ignorance.  I have tried to talk him into going to another hospital to no avail.
Thank you, Dee
4 Responses
446474 tn?1446347682
All of the symptoms sound like fluid retention issue caused by cirrhosis.

As with all case of cirrhosis each person's case is unique and must be managed on an individual basis.

Fluid retention is not always easy to get under control;in every person.

For example...
Many people with cirrhosis also have kidney problems in addition to liver problems which can limit the use of diuretics.

Paracentesis (tapping) of the fluid in the abdomen can also present problems depending on how much liquid is found and where it is located.

Fluid around the lungs can also be problematic due to the danger of puncturing the lungs or large blood vessels.

When it comes to the management of the symptoms and complications of cirrhosis the best medical care to be found is always at a hospital that does liver transplants. The doctors there work with people with cirrhosis on a daily basis and are familiar with all of the complexities of the disease.

Other hospitals only know how to handle "typical" cases of cirrhosis and its complications and don't have the resources to handle complex difficult cases.

I would advise your friend to try to get to a liver transplant center where they are more knowledgeable and skilled in managing cirrhosis and fluid retention.


317787 tn?1473358451
Hector, thank you so much! I really appreciate your response. He has HCV, failed Interferon Ribavirin treatment.
446474 tn?1446347682
Hopefully there is still time for him to get treated with the new hep C meds and cured and his cirrhosis is still reversible. Unfortunately with ascites and edema such as you described, his liver disease may have progressed too far and he will need a liver transplant sometime soon to recover his health again.

Hepatitis C has been curable in the vast majority of people who treat for a few years now, so it is particularly sad to see someone who couldn't get treated and cured before suffering with the complications of advanced cirrhosis and liver failure due to hepatitis C.

Take care.
Best of luck to your friend.
317787 tn?1473358451
Thank you Hector, I really appreciate your help with this.  You are very kind to answer questions.  I have tried to convince him to go to a hepatologist for 2 years now.  He thinks he has one however when hospitalized the hospital called the doctor to ask about his  swollen belly and legs..  The doctor basically blew them off by saying, I only treat him on an outpatient basis.
I looked him up, he is just a GI doctor, not sure why he hasn't refered my friend to a doctor who could actually help him get cured of the HCV. I have begged him to find a doctor at a hospital that does transplants as he is very close to needing one.
I have printed out page after page of information.  I have talked to him, to his wife.  I think at this point I just have to distance with love.
He must just be waiting to die, while he says he wants to get help, he does nothing.  He has been to the same hospital 7 times in a month because he can't breath.  Isn't this a sign of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a difference response?  I have mentioned his death and now don't hear from them.
Thank you again.
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