Peritoneal Dialysis Catheters for the Treatment of Refractory Ascites

2016-11-30 15:45:47 | BioPortfolio


One complication of liver disease is the buildup of fluid within the belly. This is known as ascites. Patients who have ascites have a decreased appetite, pain, nausea and shortness of breath. Ascites is typically treated with medications, however when that does not work, patients need a procedure where a needle is inserted in the belly every few weeks to drain the excess fluid. About 2 in 5 patients with ascites from liver failure can get kidney disease from their worsening liver function or from the drainage of fluid with needles. Once patients have both advanced liver disease and kidney disease, their chance of dying largely increases.

The present study will be the first of its kind to study a new technique to treat ascites. Investigators are planning to place a tube in a patient's belly to drain the excessive amounts of fluid. This technique is similar to how one type of dialysis is done to treat patients with kidney failure. This study is set as a pilot investigation in order to determine the feasibility of doing a larger, randomized clinical trial investigating the use of this novel technique. Importantly, advanced liver disease patients are at high risk to develop kidney disease, and therefore are an important group to focus on. Investigators believe that this technique will prevent or slow the development of kidney disease in liver failure patients, and improve their quality of life, far more than the current available treatments.


Refractory ascites is when fluid recurrently accumulates in the peritoneal cavity, as an end result of multiple mechanisms, including liver cirrhosis, peritoneal infiltration by tumor, portal hypertension, lymphangitic carcinomatosis, congestive heart failure, or lymphatic obstruction. It is associated with increased mortality and morbidity, including complications of abdominal wall hernias, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, kidney dysfunction, and pleural effusions. The development of ascites also leads to multiple symptoms including anorexia, early satiety, nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, and limited mobility.

The management of ascites associated with liver dysfunction usually follows a stepwise escalation in treatments. The initial management typically involves sodium restriction and diuretic therapy up to a daily maximum of 160 mg of furosemide and 400 mg of spironolactone. When ascites no longer can be controlled by these measures, one option is to decrease portal hypertension, a main pathogenic factor in ascites development, by undergoing a procedure called transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS). This procedure requires certain patient criteria to be fulfilled and is associated with complications and increased risk of hepatic encephalopathy, and therefore is confined to a small subgroup of patients with ascites. Consequently, abdominal large volume paracentesis (LVP) is the treatment of choice in many patients. This procedure involves insertion of a needle into the peritoneal cavity where ascites accumulates, then attaching the needle to a collection system that drains the ascites by gravity. The definitive treatment for ascites in patients with cirrhosis is a liver transplant, but due to limited supply of organs, and contraindications to transplantation, patients often undergo repeated LVP while waiting on the wait list or until death. Paracentesis is associated with risks including post paracentesis circulatory dysfunction leading to hyponatremia, kidney dysfunction, viscus puncture, and peritonitis. It also is a costly, resource intense, and at times an uncomfortable treatment for patients due to the procedure itself and the need for repeated treatments.

A potential alternative to LVP is the placement of an intraperitoneal catheter, in the same manner that a peritoneal dialysis (PD) catheter, to drain ascites. The procedure has a high technical insertion success rate with minimal complications and is routinely done at the bedside by nephrologist under local anesthesia. PD catheter placement for ascites drainage has many potential advantages, including the ability for it to be done at home by the patient and avoid visits to clinics or hospitals; the frequency of drainage can be timed to patient symptoms, and perhaps have less complication rates than LVP. However, the efficacy and safety of this approach in decompensated cirrhosis when compared to periodic LVP (current standard of care) has not been tested in a randomized trial. Investigators propose a single center, multi-site randomized control trial comparing bedside PD catheter placement versus usual standard of serial LVP for treatment of refractory ascites. The primary outcomes will be improvement of 10 points in the physical component score (PCS) of the Short Form-36 (SF-36) at two months. Investigators plan to randomize 50 patients (25 per arm) based on a power calculation to achieve an 10 point improvement in the PCS-SF-36 (SE = 5). Secondary outcomes will include incidence of mechanical and infectious complications, emergency department utilization, hospitalization and mortality, all other domains of the SF-36, Euroquol-5D (EQ-5D), the Newcastle Patient Reported Ascites Measure and overall health care costs.

Primary Hypothesis: Drainage of ascites associated with liver failure via PD catheter is superior to serial LVP in improving the physical component of quality of life as measured by SF-36.

This trial will be pivotal in possibly changing the standard of care for the management of refractory ascites from cirrhosis. If the primary hypothesis is confirmed, investigators will design and conduct subsequent trials to address potential morbidity and mortality benefits associated with this technique for ascites management.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment


Liver Cirrhosis


Peritoneal Dialysis Catheter, Large Volume Paracentesis, 25% Human Serum Albumin injection, Bloodwork


Not yet recruiting


University of Manitoba

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2016-11-30T15:45:47-0500

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