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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Ascites \As*ci"tes\, n. [L., fr. Gr. ? (sc. ? disease), fr. ? bladder, belly.] (Med.) A collection of serous fluid in the cavity of the abdomen; dropsy of the peritoneum.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

late 14c., "abdominal dropsy," from Latin ascites, from Greek askites (hydrops), literally "baglike dropsy," from askos "bag, sac."


n. (context medicine English) An accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity, frequently symptomatic of liver disease.


n. accumulation of serous fluid in peritoneal cavity


Ascites (from Greek askites, "baglike") is a gastroenterological term for an accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity that exceeds 25 mL.

Although most commonly due to cirrhosis, severe liver disease or metastatic cancer, its presence can be a sign of other significant medical problems, such as Budd–Chiari syndrome. Diagnosis of the cause is usually with blood tests, an ultrasound scan of the abdomen, and direct removal of the fluid by needle or paracentesis (which may also be therapeutic). Treatment may be with medication ( diuretics), paracentesis, or other treatments directed at the cause.

Usage examples of "ascites".

Chylothorax, or chylous ascites, is generally a result of this injury.

In ascites he recommends that when other means fail an opening should be made three finger-breadths below the navel with a pointed phlebotomy knife, and a portion of the fluid allowed to evacuate itself.