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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 985141, 6 pages
Review Article

Hemorrhagic Complications of Paracentesis: A Systematic Review of the Literature

1Temple University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA 19140, USA
2Coastal Gastroenterology Associates, Brick, NJ 08724, USA
3Abington Memorial Hospital, Abington, PA 19001, USA
4Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA 17033, USA

Received 24 August 2014; Revised 11 November 2014; Accepted 11 November 2014; Published 17 December 2014

Academic Editor: Paolo Gionchetti

Copyright © 2014 Kaveh Sharzehi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. Large volume paracentesis is considered a safe procedure carrying minimal risk of complications and rarely causing morbidity or mortality. The most common complications of the procedure are ascitic fluid leakage, hemorrhage, infection, and perforation. The purpose of this study was to evaluate all hemorrhagic complications and their outcomes and to identify any common variables. Methods. A literature search for all reported hemorrhagic complications following paracentesis was conducted. A total of 61 patients were identified. Data of interest were extracted and analyzed. The primary outcome of the study was 30-day mortality, with secondary endpoints being achievement of hemostasis after intervention and mortality based on type of intervention. Results. 90% of the patients undergoing paracentesis had underlying cirrhosis. Three types of hemorrhagic complications were identified: abdominal wall hematomas (52%), hemoperitoneum (41%), and pseudoaneurysm (7%). Forty percent of the patients underwent either a surgical (35%) or an IR guided intervention (65%). Patients undergoing a surgical intervention had a significantly higher rate of mortality at day 30 compared to those undergoing IR intervention. Conclusion. Abdominal wall hematomas and hemoperitoneum are the most common hemorrhagic complications of paracentesis. Transcatheter coiling and embolization appear to be superior to both open and laparoscopic surgery in treatment of these complications.