The body requires fluids to function but, like anything, too much of a good thing can be detrimental. Some conditions lead to abnormal and harmful fluid buildup within the abdominal cavity, called ascites. Ascites is most commonly caused by elevated venous blood pressure as a result of liver cirrhosis, though heart or kidney failure, infections, and certain cancers may also be responsible.
Ascitic fluid can be drawn from the abdomen with a needle, using a process called paracentesis. To better characterize the source of the ascites, lab workers use the sample for multiple tests, including albumin, total protein, cell counts, and cultures.
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