Most experts agree that ascites develops through a sequence of events illustrated by this diagram:
HOW DOES ASCITES DEVELOP?
High blood pressure in the vein that supplies blood to the liver, called “portal hypertension,” occurs as increasing liver damage (fibrosis) impedes blood flow through the liver. This causes vasodilation and blood pooling in the central or “splanchnic” region of the body and low blood volume in the arteries. The decrease in effective blood volume activates a signaling pathway (“neurohormonal systems”) which tells the kidneys to retain large amounts of salt and water in an effort to increase blood volume. Ultimately the retention of excess sodium and water leads to the formation of ascites as these substances “weep” from the liver and lymph system and collect in the patient’s abdomen.
BIV201 is being developed by BioVie with the goal of alleviating the portal hypertension and correcting splanchnic vasodilation, thereby increasing effective blood volume and reducing the signals to the kidneys to retain excess salt and water.