Resistant or refractory ascites is unusual in cirrhotic patients who comply with dietary sodium restriction and optimal diuretic therapy. Patients unresponsive to medical therapy often have end-stage liver disease and renal insufficiency, although reversible complicating factors must be excluded. For patients with truly refractory ascites, liver transplantation is the only option that improves chances of survival. When this is not feasible, therapeutic paracentesis is the procedure of choice for intractable ascites. Several surgical shunts have been used, but none have been found to be safer and more effective than large-volume paracentesis.
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