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Arch Intern Med. 1986 Nov;146(11):2259-61.

Paracentesis of ascitic fluid. A safe procedure.


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.

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