J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2017 01;64(1):83-88
*Pediatric Liver Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine †Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD ‡Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, Hatyai, Thailand §Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX ¶Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY ||Pediatric Gastroenterology, Ft. Myers, FL.
Objectives: The aim of our study was to describe the changing prevalence, demographic features, etiologies, and treatment of ascites in children hospitalized during a 27-year period at the Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore, MD).
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed discharges from 1983 to 2010 to select patients whose records included a diagnosis of ascites. We assessed the etiologies and degrees of ascites (ascites grade 1 detectable only by radiologic tests; ascites grades 2 and 3 recognized by moderate and marked abdominal distension by physical examinations).
Results: We classified 518 children into 9 etiology groups: intrahepatic disease (IH) (105), hepatic vein outflow obstruction (HVOO) (45), congestive heart disease (CH) (33), nephrotic syndrome (NS) (36), pancreatitis (26), inflammatory and infectious diseases (77), malignancy (49), idiopathic (71), and miscellaneous (76). IH and CH were predominant in the younger age group (0-5 years) versus HVOO, pancreatitis, and malignancy in the older age group (13-21 years) (P < 0.001). The prevalence of ascites increased over time from 1983 to 2006 and declined thereafter. Ascites grade 1 was more common than ascites grades 2 and 3 in all the groups (P = 0.048). IH and NS were more likely to have ascites grade 2 and 3 (P = 0.02). Although spironolactone was more frequently used in the IH group versus other etiologies, furosemide was used more frequently in NS and CH versus other etiologies (P < 0.001).
Conclusions: The increased prevalence of ascites during the initial study period could reflect improved detection radiologic detection. The proportion of severe ascites and the various medical treatments differed among the etiologic groups.