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Gastroenterology. 1990 Jan;98(1):230-6.

Diagnostic paracentesis. A potent clinical tool.

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Department of Medicine, University of California, Irvine.


Diagnostic paracentesis is a potent diagnostic tool capable of rapidly detecting portal hypertension and peritonitis. Gram's stain and chemical analysis of ascitic fluid add additional information by determining the predisposition to SBP, the presence of organisms, and the severity of peritonitis. In patients with a narrow A-GRAD, the chemical analysis, cell count and differential, and cytology will add direction for the work-up if the etiology is not apparent and confirmation if it is. This information should be available within a few hours of admission if the paracentesis and blood are obtained immediately. The results should optimize patient care and minimize costs.

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