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November 1986

Paracentesis of Ascitic Fluid: A Safe Procedure

Author Affiliations

From the Gastroenterology Division, Department of Medicine, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque. Dr Runyon is now with the University of Southern California Liver Unit, Downey.

Arch Intern Med. 1986;146(11):2259-2261. doi:10.1001/archinte.1986.00360230201029

• A prospective study of 229 abdominal paracenteses performed on 125 patients with ascites revealed only two major complications (transfusion-requiring abdominal wall hematomas) in a single patient (0.9% of paracenteses and 0.8% of patients), and two minor complications (non-transfusion-requiring hematomas) in two patients (0.9% of paracenteses and 1.6% of patients). No paracentesis resulted in bacterial peritonitis or death. Abdominal paracentesis in patients with ascites is a safe procedure. Fear of complications of the procedure should not preclude performing a paracentesis, provided certain precautions are taken.

(Arch Intern Med 1986;146:2259-2261)