Featured Article| Volume 19, ISSUE 3, 104534, March 2023

Performing Abdominal Paracentesis

Published:February 03, 2023DOI:


      • Paracentesis relieves symptoms and improves outcomes in patients with ascites.
      • Paracentesis can be performed at the bedside.
      • Complication rates are low, but albumin must be used in cirrhotic ascites to prevent kidney injury.
      • Correct removal technique reduces incidence of leak after removal.


      Ascites refers to the collection of fluid in the abdomen. This occurs as a result of several disease processes, including cirrhosis, heart failure, and malignancy. Ascites refractory to fluid restriction and diuretics is commonly managed with regular abdominal paracentesis. This review provides an overview of the indications for paracentesis, complication rates, correct performance of the procedure, drainage of fluid, removal of the drain, and minimization of complications.


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      Brendan Smith-Hanratty RN MN, PGCert, is a clinical nurse educator with Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District, Katoomba, New South Wales, Australia, and can be contacted at [email protected]