A Real Neglected Problem With a Grave Prognosis: Nephrogenic Ascites

Rana Al-zakhari, Harith Alataby, George Freg, Joseph Moussa, Elaheh Mossayebi, Farhang Ebrahimi


Nephrogenic ascites is described as a clinical condition of refractory ascites in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) on renal replacement therapy. This entity was first described in 1970. Many nephrologists do not believe in nephrogenic ascites. The underlying etiologies can be multifactorial including a combination of poor nutrition, inadequate dialysis and ultrafiltration, increased peritoneal membrane permeability, and overall uremia. The nephrogenic ascites is a rare syndrome and is often associated with a grave prognosis especially if it is not diagnosed early and treated. In the present study, we report a 27-year-old woman with past medical history of diabetes type 1 (diagnosed at age 11), ESRD secondary to diabetic nephropathy on hemodialysis (diagnosis in December 2017), bilateral diabetic retinopathy, ovarian cyst, hypertension, and anxiety who presented to the emergency department for evaluation of intractable abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting for 2-day duration. She was found to have large ascites. Diagnostic paracentesis was done and found to be exudative with serum ascites albumin gradient (SAAG) of 0.7. After detailed workup, hepatic, cardiac, infectious and malignant causes for ascites were ruled out. The diagnosis of ascites of nephrogenic origin was made. Given the patients situation and her inability of self-care, she is not a good candidate for intra-abdominal dialysis. The patient has been treated conservatively with salt/fluid restriction and intensive hemodialysis with ultrafiltration.

J Med Cases. 2020;11(1):26-29
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jmc3413


Nephrogenic ascites; End-satge renal disease; Hemodialysis; Ultrafiltration; Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis

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