Where the dropsical condition is more or less general the term " anasarca " is applied to it; if the tissues are infiltrated locally the term " oedema " is employed; and various names are applied, with a local significance, to dropsies of individual parts or cavities, such as " hydrothorax," " hydroperitoneum " or " ascites," " hydrocephalus," and so on.
Dropsy of the serous cavities is very commonly merely part of a general anasarca, although occasionally it may be, as in the case of ascites, the sequel to an obstruction in the venous return.
The liquid of ascites sometimes contains chyle in abundance (hydrops lacteus), the escape having taken place from a ruptured receptaculum chyli.
Oliver and Audibert published some cases of cirrhosis of the liver with ascites in which they got results comparable to those of Widal.
The acetate and the citrate are valuable mild diuretics in Bright's disease and in feverish conditions, and by increasing the amount of urine diminish the pathological fluids in pleuritic effusion, ascites, &c. In tubal nephritis they aid the excretion of fatty casts.