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Hepatology. 1990 Apr;11(4):662-7.

Single, total paracentesis for tense ascites: sequential hemodynamic changes and right atrial size.

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  • 1Liver Unit, King's College Hospital School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, England.

Erratum in

  • Hepatology 1990 Jul;12(1):186.


Hemodynamic changes induced by a single, total paracentesis were evaluated in 21 patients with tense ascites from whom 4 to 16 L of ascites were drained over 2 to 8 hr with no serious complications. At 60 min, compared to baseline, there was an increase in cardiac output (7.7 +/- 0.5 to 8.5 +/- 0.6 L/min, p less than 0.02) and a tendency for right atrial pressure to decrease (9.3 +/- 0.8 to 7.50 +/- 0.8 mm Hg, NS), with no change in pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (10.9 +/- 0.9 to 10.7 +/- 0.9 mm Hg). Between 3 and 12 hr later, there was a drop in right atrial pressure, pulmonary capillary wedge pressure and cardiac output to 5.6 +/- 0.6 (p less than 0.02), 7.2 +/- 0.8 mm Hg (p less than 0.002) and 7.2 +/- 0.6 L/min (NS) respectively, indicative of the development of relative hypovolemia and suggesting that therapeutic plasma expansion is appropriate at this time. Two-dimensional echocardiography before paracentesis (n = 8) showed a reduction in the right to left atrium area ratio as compared with values in patients with minimal ascites (0.54 +/- 0.04 vs 0.82 +/- 0.02, p less than 0.0001). This technique may help in identifying patients with right atrial compression caused by tense ascites.

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