Mesothelioma Patients with Fluid in Abdomen See Benefit from Use of Shunt

Patients diagnosed with malignant pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma are both vulnerable to an accumulation of excess fluid that can create significant discomfort. While pleural mesothelioma patients are able to get rid of effusions in their chest through either a catheter or a procedure known as talc pleurodesis, those with peritoneal mesothelioma have traditionally had fewer good options. Though accumulated fluid in the abdomen, called ascites, can be drained with either a needle or a catheter, the process can remove nutrients that are essential to their health. Japanese researchers believe that they have found a better way.

Shunt Provides Safe and Effective Ascite Removal for Peritoneal Mesothelioma Patients 

Researchers from Kamishirane Hospital in Yokohama, Japan report that they used a procedure called a Denver shunt to drain excess fluid from mesothelioma patients’ abdomens and reroute it in a way that eliminates discomfort while preserving access to needed nutrients. Writing in the journal Cancer Research and Therapeutics, they say that when the treatment is used on the right patients there are no serious complications and patients see significant improvements in quality of life.

When mesothelioma patients develop ascites, they experience significant bloating and discomfort, as well as nausea, vomiting, weight gain and fatigue. The researchers found that rather than removing the fluid, which contains nutrients that depleted cancer patients need, they could reroute it using a percutaneous peritoneovenous shunt. A minimally invasive procedure facilitates placement of the device, which operates to continuously push the excess abdominal fluid into the bloodstream, where nutrients are extracted and waste is removed.

Adverse Side Effects Experienced in Mesothelioma Patients With Advanced Disease

In assessing their results, the researchers noted that of the 35 patients with mesothelioma and other cancers included in their study, 29 experienced less external bloating but 40 percent experienced complications. Higher ascite volume was the most reliable predictor of complications, leading the researchers to conclude that robust patient selection criteria was essential before proceeding with the shunt procedure.

Malignant mesothelioma is a difficult disease. To learn more about improving quality of life, contact the Patient Advocates at today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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