Paracentesis Complications

Submitted by Nic on October 18, 2012

Paracentesis is a procedure used to remove fluid that has collected in some cavity of the body. Fluid buildup occurs most commonly in the abdominal cavity. The presence of fluid is not an unnatural phenomenon. However, if there is excessive buildup of fluid, it can cause problems with the normal functioning of the body. These problems occur as a result of increased pressure caused by this buildup. The process to remove fluid is done using a large bore needle. Initially, a small amount of fluid is removed in order to diagnose the cause of the illness. After this, the doctor may elect to remove all the excess fluid from the area.

As with any medical procedure, there are some possible paracentesis complications that can occur. The most common amongst paracentesis complications is that of an infection developing at the site of the injection. This may happen if the wound does not heal properly as well. Another of the common paracentesis complications is the risk of injury to organs within the cavity that is being drained. During the insertion of the needle, it is possible to accidentally cut or damage one of the organs present within that cavity. This type of complication is listed as the most common amongst abdominal paracentesis complications because of the presence of important organ systems like the intestinal system, the risk of this type of damage is higher in the abdominal cavity. However, it should be noted that these risks have a very low chance of actually occurring.

One of the abdominal paracentesis complications, also listed under large volume paracentesis complications is the risk of shock that may occur if a significant amount of fluid is removed from the body. When the fluid is present in the body, its pressure leads to various body systems functioning in a particular way. When there is a sudden removal of this fluid and the therefore the pressure, it causes the individual's body to react to it and as such the individual experiences a sudden drop in his/her blood pressure. This can cause problems such as diminished consciousness and giddiness. This is often the reason why a paracentesis procedure may be conducted in stages so that it does not suddenly remove large amounts of fluid from the body. Suddenly reduced blood pressure is one of the common post paracentesis complications. This complication may actually occur as late as twelve hours after the procedure has been conducted.

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