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Plasmodium falciparum nephrosis edema PHIL 3894 lores.jpg
A child suffering from anasarca brought on by nephrosis associated with malaria
Classification and external resources

Anasarca, edema, is a severe and generalized edema with widespread subcutaneous tissue swelling.[1]

It is usually caused by liver failure (cirrhosis of the liver), renal failure/disease, right-sided heart failure, as well as severe malnutrition/protein deficiency. The increase in salt and water retention caused by low cardiac output can also result in anasarca as a long term maladaptive response.

It can also be created from the administration of exogenous intravenous fluid. Certain plant-derived anticancer chemotherapeutic agents, such as docetaxel, cause anasarca through a poorly understood capillary leak syndrome.[2]

In Hb Barts, the high oxygen affinity results in poor oxygen delivery to peripheral tissues, resulting in anasarca.


  1. ^ Kumar Vinay. Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease. 8th ed. p.112; Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier, 2010. ISBN 978-0-8089-2402-9
  2. ^ Semb K A, Aamdal S, Oian P. "Capillary protein leak syndrome appears to explain fluid retention in cancer patients who receive docetaxel treatment". Journal of Clinical Oncology. October 1998. vol. 16 no. 10 3426-3432