Management of chronic peritoneal ascites by transfer of the fluid to the right atrium via peritoneovenous shunt (PVS) is often complicated by occlusion of the peritoneal catheter by one, or a combination, of the following: 1) omental plugging of drain holes, 2) fibrin obstruction of the lumen, and 3) encapsulation of the peritoneal segment by a cocoon. A PVS design that includes an access port facilitates the reversal of fibrin obstruction by urokinase. Eight dogs with implanted PVS were tested weekly for patency (indicated by the flow rate of saline into the peritoneum via the access port) and performance (indicated by the percent transfer of saline from the peritoneum to the vasculature). In 256 test sessions performed to date, 15 catheter occlusions occurred. Nine of these were reversed by one or two flushes with 5,000 units of urokinase via the access port. The remaining six were found to be occluded by cocoons (two), omentum (three), and fibrin (one). Although it is an effective treatment for ascites, the PVS is not in common use, because it has a relatively high occlusion rate. The access port and other features of the authors' PVS are designed to reduce the incidence of PVS occlusion.