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Gastroenterology. 1990 Jan;98(1):146-51.

Total paracentesis associated with intravenous albumin management of patients with cirrhosis and ascites.

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  • 1Liver Unit, Hospital Clinic i Provincial of Barcelona, Spain.


Repeated large-volume paracentesis (4-6 L/day) is an effective and safe therapy of ascites in patients with cirrhosis provided albumin is infused intravenously. To investigate whether ascites can be safely mobilized in only one paracentesis session ("total paracentesis"), 38 cirrhotic patients with tense ascites were treated with total paracentesis plus intravenous albumin (6-8 g/L ascites removed). Standard liver tests and renal function tests, glomerular filtration rate, free water clearance, plasma volume, plasma renin activity, and plasma aldosterone and norepinephrine concentrations were measured before and after treatment. Total paracentesis was effective in mobilizing ascites in all but 1 patient and did not impair any of the parameters studied. The volume of ascitic fluid removed and the duration of the procedure were 10.7 +/- 0.5 L (mean +/- SEM) and 60 +/- 3 min, respectively. Five of the 38 patients (13%) developed complications during the first hospital stay (hepatic encephalopathy and gastrointestinal hemorrhage in 2 patients each and culture-negative bacterial peritonitis in 1). No patient developed renal impairment. This complication rate, as well as the clinical course of the disease during follow-up, estimated by the probability of readmission to hospital, causes of readmission, and survival probability after treatment, was similar to that reported in patients treated with repeated large-volume paracentesis. These results indicate that total paracentesis associated with intravenous albumin can be safely performed in cirrhotic patients with tense ascites and suggest that these patients could be treated in a single-day hospitalization regime.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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