Paracentesis is a procedure to take out
fluid that has collected in the belly (peritoneal fluid). This fluid buildup is called
ascites . Ascites may be caused by infection,
inflammation, an injury, or other conditions, such as
cirrhosis or cancer. The fluid is taken out using a
long, thin needle put through the belly. The fluid is sent to a lab and studied
to find the cause of the fluid buildup. Paracentesis also may be done to take
the fluid out to relieve belly pressure or pain in people with cancer or
Why It Is Done
Paracentesis may be done to:
- Find the cause of fluid buildup in the
- Diagnose an infection in the peritoneal
- Check for certain types of cancer, such as liver
- Remove a large amount of fluid that is causing pain or
trouble breathing or that is affecting how the kidneys or the intestines
(bowel) are working.
- Check for damage after a belly injury.
How To Prepare
Before you have paracentesis done, tell
your doctor if you:
Other blood tests may be done before a paracentesis to make
sure that you do not have any bleeding or clotting problems. You will empty
your bladder before the procedure.
You may be asked to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of the test and agree to have it done.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the
need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will
mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
This procedure may be done in your
doctor's office, an emergency room, or the X-ray department of a hospital, or at
your bedside in the hospital.