Fluid buildup can foster bacterial infections, called spontaneous bacterial peritonitis. The infection causes fever and pain, and because it often recurs, doctors generally prescribe long-term antibiotics. Buildup in the lungs as a result of ascites causes hepatic hydrothorax, which leads to shortness of breath, coughing, chest discomfort, and reduced oxygen in the blood. Rarely, people with cirrhosis develop kidney failure due to hepatorenal syndrome.
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