Paracentesis in Ultrasound
Your doctor has scheduled a paracentesis to be done in Ultrasound on ___________________________ at ________ ( )am, ( )pm. Please report to the G3/3 Radiology desk (Atrium elevators to the 3rd floor).
Our doctors will explain the procedure to you, and then ask you to sign a consent form.
Why do I need a paracentesis?
Your doctor has found that you have fluid in your abdomen. This is a problem that can be caused by many things. A paracentesis is done by placing a needle or thin, plastic tube into the stomach region. A small sample of fluid can be removed for testing. This sample helps the doctor to figure out what may be causing the fluid build-up (ascites). If there is an excess amount of fluid build-up, the doctor may also remove more of it. Taking the extra fluid out may help you breathe better and feel more comfortable.
There are common reasons for doing a paracentesis. They include:
- Recent fluid build-up with no clear cause.
- To help diagnose an infection.
- To remove fluid and help the patient be more comfortable or breathe with less effort.
How do I prepare for a paracentesis?
1. You will need to have blood work done first to test how well your blood clots. This can be done the day of the procedure. Please have all outside lab work faxed to Ultrasound Clinical Program Coordinator at (608) 261-5634. The blood work should include a platelet count and an INR.
2. Please notify us if you are taking any medications that thin your blood such as warfarin, plavix, pradaxa, effient, etc. Any injectable blood thinners will need to be held for a period of time on each side of the procedure. Your doctor will need to be notified for holding any of your medicines.
3. Tell us if you have allergies to latex, contrast dye, or medicines.
What should I expect during a paracentesis?
The doctor will use ultrasound (a machine that sends sound waves through the skin and creates images on a TV screen) to locate the fluid. The skin will be cleaned with soap in the area the doctor decides is best for the fluid drainage.
We will inject some numbing medicine under the skin where the doctor will remove the fluid. A small needle will be inserted into the fluid. After this, a small tube is exchanged for the needle. The fluid will be drained out through the tube with a syringe or suction device.
After the numbing medicine wears off, you may feel some pain at the site. It should not be severe, but patients have described it as feeling sore. No medicines will be prescribed. If you are having any pain, we suggest you use Tylenol®. The pain should go away within the first 24 hours.
What can I do after the procedure?
You can resume your normal routine, as you feel able. You should call your local doctor if you begin to have early symptoms of fluid build-up again. Sometimes the fluid will build up again, and you may need to repeat the paracentesis.
When do I call the doctor?
- If you feel dizzy, faint, or light-headed.
- If your pain around the site gets worse rather than better 2-3 days later.
- If you are not feeling well and have a fever greater than 100.4° F (38° C).
- If you develop redness and swelling around the site.
Any questions or concerns you may have about your procedure, please call
1-800-323-8942. This will give you the paging operator. Ask for the Ultrasound Department. You will be connected to someone who can help you.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 07/23/2013
Copyright © 07/23/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6375
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