Development and Validation of a Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement for Symptom Assessment in Cirrhotic Ascites

Myrte Neijenhuis, Tom J.G. Gevers, Thomas D. Atwell, Tim J. Gunneson, Amanda C. Schimek, Wietske Kievit, Joost P.H. Drenth, Patrick S. Kamath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives: As current treatments of cirrhotic ascites are not associated with survival benefit, symptom relief is the major therapeutic end point. We developed a questionnaire (Ascites-Q; modified polycystic liver disease questionnaire) and assessed validity and responsiveness for symptom assessment in cirrhotic ascites. Methods: Ascites-Q was compared with Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Ascites Index (FACIT-AI; developed for malignant ascites) and Japanese Ascites Symptom Inventory-7 (ASI-7) in cirrhotics undergoing large-volume paracentesis. Convergent validity was defined as correlation >0.4 between ascites questionnaires and quality of life (QoL) visual analog scale. Responsiveness was assessed by comparing scores at baseline and 7 days after large-volume paracentesis. To test discriminative ability, we compared scores of patients with cirrhotic controls without ascites (n=24) and diuretic-sensitive ascites (n=46). Results: We included 90 patients with refractory cirrhotic ascites (61% male, mean age 59 years, Model of End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score 16, median paracentesis volume 4,100 ml). Higher symptoms scores were correlated with lower QoL (Ascites-Q: r=0.479, P<0.001, FACIT-AI: r=0.313, P=0.007; ASI-7: r=0.340, P=0.004), but only Ascites-Q showed convergent validity (r>0.4). Symptoms decreased after paracentesis (Ascites-Q: 57 to 34, FACIT-AI: 44 to 33, and ASI-7: 57 to 25, all P<0.001). Ascites-Q and ASI-7 discriminated between controls without ascites, diuretic-sensitive, and refractory ascites (Ascites-Q: 16 vs. 35 vs. 56 points, ASI-7: 2 vs. 25 vs. 61 points, all P<0.05), whereas FACIT-AI (39 vs. 40 vs. 52 points) could not (P=0.314). Ascites-Q was validated at 3 months in an independent cohort with ascites controlled with a pump. Conclusions: The Ascites-Q is the best ascites-specific outcome to evaluate symptom relief in cirrhotic ascites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-575
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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