Anasarca Misdiagnosis

Anasarca is a condition where the skin becomes swollen due to excess fluid in the skin tissues. The condition is often caused by kidney disease, hookworm or congestive heart failure, but there are other causes that are rarer. Painful swelling are painful urination are the symptoms of anasrca that patients usually complain of, but there are other symptoms that are often undetected. Some symptoms may vary according to the cause of each patient’s anasarca. If anasarca is not diagnosed and treated properly, the condition that is causing it is likely to worsen, which may result in death.


A doctor is likely to ask their patients questions regarding their medical history so they can figure out what is causing their anasarca. Many patients are given a albumin blood test to determine the amount of this plasma protein in their blood. Albumin is necessary for distributing fluids in the body as well as carrying plasma. A patient who lacks albumin in their blood is likely to have swelling, so the albumin test is helpful for doctors who are attempting to diagnose a patient with anasarca.

Some doctors use sophisticated diagnostic tools like X-rays, electrocardiograms and urinalysis to figure out what is causing the patient’s anasarca, but these tools may not be necessary for diagnosing the condition.


Some doctors are quick to diagnose their patients with anasarca when they see swelling, but the diagnosis may not be correct unless tests have been performed. There are many conditions that have swelling as a symptom, so testing is essential so that patients are diagnosed correctly.

Urinary changes and fluid retention are both commonly found in the bodies of patients with acute renal failure, so doctors sometimes diagnose patients with these symptoms as having the condition. There are many other symptoms associated with acute renal failure, so doctors should not be quick to diagnose this condition without looking for other symptoms. Mood changes, fatigue and appetite loss are also symptoms of acute renal failure, as are nausea, flank pain and nosebleeds. It is easy for doctors to confuse acute renal failure and anasarca because their symptoms are similar, so a blood test should be conducted to ensure that an accurate diagnosis is made.

Swelling just under the skin’s surface, often caused by an allergic reaction, is called angioedema. Doctors usually ask their patients if they have recently been in contact with allergens such as insect bites, dander and pollen. Other symptoms of angiodema include abdominal cramping, mucus membrane swelling and breathing difficulties. These are symptoms that are uncommon for people who have anasarca, so doctors should not confuse the two conditions. A doctor who only looks at the swelling and doesn’t pay attention to the patient’s other symptoms and history may make an improper diagnosis.