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). Before the procedure, our doctors will explain
what will happen, answer any questions, and 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 abdomen. The fluid can then be
removed both for testing and to help you
There are common reasons for doing a
paracentesis. They include:
ξ Recent fluid build-up with no clear
ξ To help diagnose an infection
ξ To remove fluid and help the patient
be more comfortable or breathe with
How do I prepare for a paracentesis?
1. You 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 tell us if you take any medicines
that thin your blood such as warfarin,
plavix, pradaxa, effient, etc. Any
injectable blood thinners need to be held
for a period of time on each side of the
procedure. Your doctor needs to be
notified for holding any of your
3. Tell us if you have allergies to latex or
What should I expect during a
The doctor uses an ultrasound (a machine
that sends sound waves through the skin and
creates images on a TV screen) to locate the
fluid. The skin is cleaned with soap in the
area the doctor decides is best for the fluid
We inject some numbing medicine under the
skin where the doctor will remove the fluid.
A small needle/catheter system similar to an
IV, but larger, is inserted into the fluid. The
fluid is 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 have any pain, we
suggest you use Tylenol® or Ibuprofen. The
pain should go away within the first 24
What can I do after the procedure?
You can go back to your normal routine, as
you feel able. You should call your local
doctor if you begin to have 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?
ξ If you feel dizzy, faint, or light-headed.
ξ If your pain around the site gets worse
rather than better 2-3 days later.
ξ If you are not feeling well and have a
fever greater than 100.4° F (38° C).
ξ 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. You
will need to let the operator know you had a procedure done in the Ultrasound Department. The
operator will then connect you to someone in our department who can help.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 11/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing HF#6375.