What is paracentesis?

Updated: Jul 05, 2018
  • Author: Gil Z Shlamovitz, MD, FACEP; Chief Editor: Vikram Kate, MBBS, MS, PhD, FRCS, FACS, FACG, FRCS(Edin), FRCS(Glasg), FIMSA, MAMS, MASCRS  more...
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Answer

Paracentesis is a procedure in which a needle or catheter is inserted into the peritoneal cavity to obtain ascitic fluid for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes. [1, 2] Ascitic fluid may be used to help determine the etiology of ascites, as well as to evaluate for infection or presence of cancer. With regard to differentiation of transudate from exudate, the preferred means for characterizing ascites is the serum-ascitic albumin gradient (SAAG). [3]


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