Preliminary Diagnosis: Ascites

I. What imaging technique is first-line for this diagnosis

  • The first line imaging technique is a plain radiograph of the abdomen.

II. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of this technique for diagnosis of Ascites.

  • Plain radiography is a quick and relative portable imaging modality.

  • Plain radiography exposes patients to minimal ionizing radiation.

  • Plain radiography is less sensitive and specific in detecting and quantifiying ascites.

  • Plain radiography is less adept in directing therapeutic interventions compared to sonographic imaging and cross sectional imaging.

III. What are the contraindications for the first-line imaging technique?

  • No specific contraindications to plain radiography exist.

IV. What alternative imaging techniques are available?

  • Alternative imaging techniques include sonographic imaging and CT imaging.

V. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of the alternative techniques for diagnosis of Ascites.

  • Sonographic imaging is a relatively quick imaging modality.

  • Sonographic imaging is a highly portable imaging modality.

  • Sonographic imaging does not expose patients to ionizing radiation.

  • Sonographic imaging is highly adept in characterizing the location and complexity of the ascites collection.

  • Sonographic imaging is highly adept in directing therapeutic percutaneous interventions.

  • CT imaging is highly sensitive and specific in detecting and characterizing a focal area of ascites.

  • CT imaging is highly adept in detecting percutaneous intervention.

  • CT imaging offers exquisite detail of the surrounding soft tissues and osseous structures.

  • CT imaging exposes patients to ionizing radiation.

VI. What are the contraindications for the alternative imaging techniques?

  • No specific contraindications to sonographic imaging exist.

  • CT imaging may be contraindicated in pregnant patients.

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