Some patients with ascites due to liver cirrhosis become no longer responsive to diuretics. Once other causes of ascites such as portal vein thrombosis, malignancy or infection and non-compliance with medications and low sodium diet have been excluded, the diagnosis of refractory ascites can be made based on strict criteria. Patients with refractory ascites have very poor prognosis and therefore referral for consideration for liver transplantation should be initiated. Search for reversible components of the underlying liver pathology should be undertaken and targeted therapy, when available, should be considered. Currently, serial large volume paracentesis (LVP) and transjugular intrahepatic portasystemic stent-shunt (TIPS) are the two mainstay treatment options for refractory ascites. Other treatment options are available but not widely used either because they carry high morbidity and mortality (most surgical options) rates, or are new interventions that have shown promise but still need further evaluation. In this comprehensive review, we describe the evaluation and management of patients with refractory ascites from the prospective of the practicing physician
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