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Physiology 6

A 34-year-old man presents to his primary care physician with concerns of a feeling of heaviness in his legs. He states that this feeling has been getting progressively worse over the past 3 weeks. He also states it seems as if his ankles are getting larger. The patient has not seen a physician in the last 10 years. He has a 12-year history of alcohol abuse, but he has been reducing his alcohol intake over the last year in an attempt to improve his overall health. Past medical history is otherwise negative, and he does not take any medications. Family history is noncontributory. Vital signs are within normal limits. Physical examination reveals normal cardiac and pulmonary findings. On abdominal examination, he has evidence of ascites with a fluid wave. He has bilateral pitting edema in the legs without any erythema.

Which of the following forces has the greatest impact on his edema formation?

  • A) Albumin content in the capillaries
  • B) Albumin content in the interstitial space
  • C) Capillary permeability
  • D) Lymphatic obstruction
  • E) Mucopolysaccharides in the interstitial space


Michelle Sherwin


Dr. Ted O'Connell