Abdominal Paracentesis

There are some conditions that can cause fluid to build up in the abdomen. This is called ascites. When fluid builds up, an abdominal paracentesis may be done. With this procedure, a needle is used to remove a sample of fluid or to drain fluid that has built up.

  • Call Your Doctor

    After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

    • Signs of infection, including fever, chills and abdominal pain
    • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or fluid from the paracentesis site
    • Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
    • Cough, shortness of breath, feeling faint, or chest pain
    • Swelling of the abdomen

    In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition


    There are some conditions that can cause fluid to build up in the abdomen. This is called
    ascites. When fluid builds up, an abdominal paracentesis may be done. With this procedure, a needle is used to remove a sample of fluid or to drain fluid that has built up.

    Ascites
    Ascites
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  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure

    This is done to find out why there is fluid build-up in the abdomen. Causes may include:

    • Bleeding
    • Infection
    • Diseases of organs, such as the liver or kidneys
    • Cancer
    • Low blood protein
    • Leakage of lymphatic fluid

    This procedure may also be done when fluid in the abdomen:

    • Makes breathing difficult
    • Causes pain

    Abdominal fluid can return until the condition causing it has been treated. You may need to have the procedure again.

  • Possible Complications

    Complications are rare. However, no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have an abdominal paracentesis, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

    • Bleeding
    • Infection
    • Accidental piercing of structures in the abdomen

    Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

    • Smoking
    • Alcoholism
    • Bleeding disorder
    • Poor nutrition
    • Pregnancy
    • Full bladder
    • Infection in the area where the paracentesis instrument will be inserted
    • Cirrhosis of the liver

    Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure.