A survey of practice in management of malignant ascites

Christopher W. Lee, Greg Bociek, Wylam Faught

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine physicians' attitudes toward and preferences for palliative management of malignant ascites. A random sample of eighty physicians practicing in Canada was selected firm the memberships of the Canadian Association of Medical Oncologists, the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology, the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians, and the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists of Canada. Physicians were questioned on their use of different modalities in management of malignant ascites, and preferences based on attitudes toward efficacy of various treatments. Eighty surveys were mailed, with a second mailing, followed by telephone contact. The response rate was 76% (59/78), with two potential respondents deemed ineligible. Among the 44 physicians who treat malignant ascites, paracentesis is employed by 43 (98%), and felt to be effective by 39 (89%). Diuretics are used by 61% (27/44), although fewer feel diuretics are effective management (20/44, 45%). Peritoneovenous shunts, dietary measures, and other modalities are used less frequently than either paracentesis or diuretics. The most commonly used means of managing malignant ascites is paracentesis, which is also felt to be the most effective by the group surveyed. After paracentesis, diuretics and peritoneovenous shunting are used most frequently, but there is no apparent consensus as to their effectiveness. Managing malignant ascites remains problematic, and we propose further study of management strategies to clarify the role of various treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-101
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1998


  • Ascites
  • Diuretics
  • Mail survey
  • Neoplasms
  • Paracentesis
  • Peritoneovenous shunt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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