Definite indications for use of abdominal paracentesis include evaluatian of blunt trauma to the abdomen, evaluation of the condition of comatose patients with possible abdominal injuries, and evaluation of confusing abdominal diagnostic problems. Case reports illustrate the value of paracentesis in clarifying a confusing clinical picture in certain patients who do not present clear-cut indications for or against operative therapy. A distended abdomen is not a contraindication to the procedure. The simple routine used was not attended by complications. References stress the difficulties that can arise in interpreting a peritoneal tap.
Chapman ND, Nyhus LM, Harkins HN. ABDOMINAL PARACENTESIS AS A DIAGNOSTIC AID. JAMA. 1959;170(14):1625–1628. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03010140005002
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