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Anasarca is the medical term for a condition that causes generalized swelling of the body. Check out this lesson to learn more about anasarca. Synonyms for anasarca and translation of anasarca to 25 languages. La palabra anasarca procede del latín medieval anasarcha. info . anasarca definicion. Cuantitativamente, se detecta un aumento de líquido de ≥3L en pacientes que desarrollaron anasarca. Anasarca terminología proviene de frases griegas.

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Accumulation of fluid may occur due to any illnesses and conditions that change the proteins of the body, affect the balance of fluids, or create abnormalities in the blood vessels or lymphatic system. It is helpful to understand that anasarca is not a disease itself.

Instead, it is a symptom or result of a medical condition. Anasarca is different than typical edema. Almost everyone experiences swelling at some time, which can be due to a variety of causes, such as an injury, dehydrationor a minor side effect of medication.

In many instances, swelling or edema may only affect a specific part of the body, such as the feet, hands, or legs. But with anasarca, the swelling involves the whole body and is considered severe. For example, the swelling is often so severe it makes movement difficult. It is essential to find out what is causing anasarca to treat it accurately.

For example, if kidney disease is causing anasarca, treatment is needed to assist kidney function. Doctors often prescribe drugs called diuretics. Diuretics work by helping the kidneys release more salt into the urine, which causes the release of more fluid through urination. The two main types of diuretics prescribed for anasarca include potassium-sparing and loop diuretics.

Diuretics are either taken by mouth or given through an intravenous line IV. The choice of diuretic, the dose, and the route of administration vary according to the severity of the swelling and the underlying condition that is causing anasarca. Albumin is a protein made by the body that is necessary for a variety of important functionsincluding balancing fluid.


In cases of poor nutrition and certain serious medical conditions, the level of albumin can become too low. When this occurs fluid from the bloodstream is pushed out into the tissues causing swelling.

In some cases, replacing albumin can help correct this problem. A doctor may recommend additional home treatments to speed recovery.

Monitoring fluid and salt intake is important to prevent any swelling from getting worse. Salt can increase fluid retentionwhich is why people who have severe edema need to reduce their salt intake. Anasarca can develop due to a variety of causes. Some conditions that may lead to anasarca are widespread, while others are considered rare. Capillary leak syndrome occurs when protein and fluid leak out of the blood vessels into the tissues of the body.

The cause is not well understood, but it is believed to be due to inflammation and blood vessel injury. It has been shown to occur in relation to some medications and toxins. According to one case studycapillary leak syndrome can develop as a result of certain cancer medications, such as gemcitabine.

Another case was reported following a snakebite. Various medications can lead to anasarca. The most common types of medication that might cause swelling include steroids and blood pressure drugs, such as amlodipine.

Discontinuing the medication will often resolve symptoms of anasarca as indicated in this case report. The main symptom of anasarca is swelling of the body.

The swelling is obvious, and the skin may look shiny and stretched. Sometimes, swelling is so extreme that a person has difficulty moving. Swelling can become so severe that fluid will leak out directly from the skin. This is known as weeping edema. Pitting edema may also develop.

Pitting edema occurs when pressure is applied to the swollen skin, and a dimple or indentation remains after the pressure is released. A life-threatening complication of anasarca can also develop if fluid accumulates in the lungs. Fluid in the lungs is called pulmonary edemaand it can quickly become an emergency. Signs of pulmonary edema include chest pain, shortness of breath, and coughing. A doctor can usually make a diagnosis of anasarca after a physical exam; and if the edema is severe, a doctor can often recognize it instantly.

However, determining the underlying cause of anasarca requires further tests. A blood test is often the first step in making a diagnosis of anasarca. Blood is tested to check the function of organs including the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys.

A doctor will also take a medical history to help determine whether any underlying medical conditions are causing the fluid definlcion.

A doctor may also recommend other diagnostic tests, such as an echocardiogram, a chest X-ray, and a stress test to evaluate heart and lung function. Anasarca often occurs due to severe organ damage or illness.

It may interfere with a person’s ability to perform everyday activities and can greatly decrease their quality of life. But with proper treatment, swelling can often be reduced. Although medication can help treat the condition, anasarca might return if the underlying cause cannot be corrected. The outlook for people with anasarca often depends on identifying the cause.


In many instances, by the time anasarca has developed, the underlying condition has progressed to a critical state. Treating problems with the heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver early on is the best chance of preventing and controlling anasarca in many cases. Article last reviewed by Tue 13 February Visit our Dermatology category page for the latest news on this subject, or sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest updates on Dermatology.

All references are available in the References tab. The clinical use of albumin: The point of view of a specialist in intensive care. Causes and signs of edema. Critical appraisal of the role of serum albumin in cardiovascular disease.

Albumin and furosemide combination for management of edema in nephrotic syndrome: A review of clinical studies. Capillary leak syndrome The Medicine Forum17 8. American Family Physician71 11— Anasarca edema with amlodipine treatment. Annals of Pharmacotherapy39 4 definickon, — American Family Physician88 2— Capillary leak syndrome following snakebite envenomation. APA de Pietro, M.

What is anasarca?

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Register for a free account Sign up for a free Medical News Today account to customize your medical and health news experiences. Register take the tour. Reviewed by Judith Marcin, MD. Anasarca is a symptom of a condition, and may be diagnosed with a physical assessment. Everything you need to know about edema. Swelling caused by fluid retention is known as edema, learn more about it here.

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When intravenous fluids are administered excessively, it may increase the risk of anasarca. Anasarca causes obvious swelling of the body. In some cases, when the skin is pressed an indentation will remain after pressure is released.