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Am J Gastroenterol. 1996 Feb;91(2):366-8.

Hemorrhagic complications of large volume abdominal paracentesis.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, USA.


The incidence of hemorrhagic complications from large volume paracentesis in patients with cirrhosis and portal hypertension is unknown. We have reviewed the cases of 179 outpatients undergoing large volume paracentesis at our institution during a 1-yr period. Of these 179 patients, four developed severe hemorrhagic complications requiring hospital admission and blood transfusion. Three of these patients developed intraperitoneal hemorrhage, one of which was localized to the paracentesis puncture site. One patient experienced an abdominal wall hematoma, localized by ultrasound. The symptoms and signs of hemorrhage became evident anywhere from hours up to 1 wk after completion of the paracentesis procedure. The mechanism of delayed hemorrhage is not known but may relate to the the rupture of large intra-abdominal venous collaterals in these patients. The literature does not support a correlation between degree of coagulopathy or thrombocytopenia and risk of bleeding in this setting. To promote early detection of this potentially life-threatening complications, a mechanism should exist for close outpatient follow-up of patients after large volume paracentesis.

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