Gastrointestinal Question #2


The nurse is caring for a client with ascites and finds that the client’s abdominal girth has increased by 7 cm over the past three days. The nurse determines the reasons for increased size includes which finding? (Select all that apply)


  1. Damaged hepatocytes increase sodium and fluid retention
    • Rationale:
  2. Blood proteins are pushed out of the blood vessels, causing leakage into the peritoneal cavity.
    • Rationale:
  3. Thirst occurs causing excess fluid intake
    • Rationale:
  4. Liver is unable to synthesize albumin and decreased colloidal oncotic pressure occurs
    • Rationale:



Ascites related to cirrhosis is caused by decreased colloidal oncotic pressure which results from the liver’s inability to synthesize albumin. Portal hypertension shifts protein from blood vessels into the peritoneal cavity, and hyperaldosteronism increases sodium and fluid retention. Thirst does not contribute to fluid excess; therefore, selection C is incorrect.

Learning Outcomes

Test Taking Tip

Video Rationale