Paucis Verbis card: Ascites assessment with paracentesis

Jun 25, 10
Paucis Verbis card: Ascites assessment with paracentesis

Paracentesis ascites

A paracentesis procedure is often performed in the Emergency Department to rule a patient out for spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP).

  • Do you check coagulation studies before performing the procedure?
  • How comfortable do you feel that the patient has SBP with an ascites WBC > 500 cells/microliter or ascites PMN > 250 cells/microliter?

This installment of the Paucis Verbis (In a Few Words) e-card series provides an evidence-based review of the literature on topics related to the paracentesis procedure. Especially helpful is the pooled data of likelihood ratios. Like most everything in medicine, a lab test should be used in conjunction with your pretest probability in clinical decision making, and LR’s help with with this.

PV Card: Ascites and Paracentesis

Adapted from [1]
Go to ALiEM (PV) Cards for more resources.


  1. Wilkerson RG, Sinert R. The Use of Paracentesis in the Assessment of the Patient With Ascites. Annals of Emergency Medicine. 2009;54(3):465-468. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2008.09.005

Author information

Michelle Lin, MD

ALiEM Founder and CEO
Professor and Digital Innovation Lab Director
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of California, San Francisco

The post Paucis Verbis card: Ascites assessment with paracentesis appeared first on ALiEM.

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