What is the peripheral arterial vasodilation hypothesis of ascites in cirrhosis?

Updated: Jul 30, 2018
  • Author: David C Wolf, MD, FACP, FACG, AGAF, FAASLD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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The peripheral arterial vasodilation hypothesis states that splanchnic arterial vasodilation, driven by high nitric oxide levels, leads to intravascular underfilling. This causes stimulation of the renin-angiotensin system and the sympathetic nervous system and results in antidiuretic hormone release. These events are followed by an increase in sodium and water retention and in plasma volume, as well as by the overflow of fluid into the peritoneal cavity.

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