Archive for Ascites

Ascites (Huh?)

Occasionally, a nurse at the weekly hospice team meeting will give an incomplete report about a patient. The team leader may prompt the nurse to make sure all the basics are covered. Though my medical knowledge is limited (and that’s a generous assessment), I’ve gone to enough meetings to anticipate a few of the predictable questions . . .

  • Does the patient need oxygen? Is it continuous or as needed?
  • Is he bedbound?
  • What is her F.A.S.T. score?

In recent weeks, because of several patients’ situations, I’ve added another query I could ask if a nurse forgot to include the information in her overview.

  • Any sign of ascites?

Huh? First, let’s get to the simple, safe stuff . . . ascites is pronounced uh-site-eez.

And then there’s not-so-simple, unsettling definition: “When fluid builds up inside the abdomen, it is known as ascites. Ascites usually occurs when the liver stops working properly. Fluid fills the space between the lining of the abdomen and the organs.” Read More →

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