Large Volume Paracentesis - Procedure and Complications

Submitted by Nic on October 18, 2012

Paracentesis is the procedure where fluid is removed from a cavity of the body. Normally, fluid may collect from time to time in a cavity without causing any problems. However, in some cases, this buildup occurs in a much larger volume, thus adding weight and causing strain to the body of the individual. When there is a large volume of fluid in a body cavity, other organs in the cavity may not function properly. It is therefore important to figure out what is causing the fluid buildup and to drain the fluid as well. When large quantities of fluid need to be removed, the procedure is known as large volume paracentesis.

Large volume paracentesis is conducted in the same way as a regular procedure. The only difference in this situation is the quantity of fluid removed. The injection site is cleaned and then anesthetized to ensure that there is no serious pain felt by the individual. Once the needle is in place, the large volume paracentesis can begin. Gradually, fluid is removed from the body and either disposed of or collected as a sample for analysis in a laboratory. This analysis can be used to identify the underlying cause of the problem.

One of the large volume paracentesis complications is the shock that the body experiences because of the sudden removal of fluid and the associated pressure that it applies on parts of the body within the same cavity. One such complication associated with the large volume paracentesis procedure is that of low blood pressure or hypotension within half a day of the procedure. This complication of large volume paracentesis can be avoided if one uses an albumin based treatment. By following up the large volume paracentesis with albumin injections, it has been found that there is a decreased risk of low blood pressure after the procedure has been completed.

A patient who undergoes a large volume paracentesis procedure may need to be admitted to hospital for one night to ensure that none of the side effects actually occur. This precautionary measure drastically reduces the risks that an individual might face when performing such a procedure. Even if there is a drop in blood pressure, emergency measures can be taken to ensure that this does not pose a serious risk to the health of the individual. Other risks associated with a large volume paracentesis include fluid leakage from an unhealed wound and also infection to the wound.

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