Cirrhotic patients with refractory ascites (RA) can be treated with repeated large volume paracentesis (LVP), with the insertion of a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) or with liver transplantation. However, side effects and complications of these therapeutic options, as well as organ shortage, warrant the development of novel treatments. The automated low-flow ascites pump (alfapump®) is a subcutaneously-implanted novel battery-driven device that pumps ascitic fluid from the peritoneal cavity into the urinary bladder. Ascites can therefore be aspirated in a time- and volume-controlled mode and evacuated by urination. Here we review the currently available data about patient selection, efficacy and safety of the alfapump and provide recommendations for the management of patients treated with this new method.
Keywords: albumin; cirrhosis; decompensation; diuretics; spontaneous bacterial peritonitis.