Position Statements

Recommendations on the Use of Ultrasound Guidance for Adult Abdominal Paracentesis: A Position Statement of the Society of Hospital Medicine

Abstract

1. We recommend that ultrasound guidance should be used for paracentesis to reduce the risk of serious complications, the most common being bleeding.

2. We recommend that ultrasound guidance should be used to avoid attempting paracentesis in patients with an insufficient volume of intraperitoneal free fluid to drain. 3. We recommend that ultrasound guidance should be used with paracentesis to improve the success rates of the overall procedure.

4. We recommend that ultrasound should be used to assess the volume and location of intraperitoneal free fluid to guide clinical decision making of where paracentesis can be safely performed.

5. We recommend that ultrasound should be used to identify a needle insertion site based on size of the fluid collection, thickness of the abdominal wall, and proximity to abdominal organs.

6. We recommend that the needle insertion site should be evaluated using color flow Doppler ultrasound to identify and avoid abdominal wall blood vessels along the anticipated needle trajectory.

7. We recommend that a needle insertion site should be evaluated in multiple planes to ensure clearance from underlying abdominal organs and detect any abdominal wall blood vessels along the anticipated needle trajectory.

8. We recommend that a needle insertion site should be marked with ultrasound immediately before performing the procedure, and the patient should remain in the same position between marking the site and performing the procedure.

9. We recommend that using real-time ultrasound guidance for paracentesis should be considered when the fluid collection is small or difficult to access.

10. We recommend that dedicated training sessions, including didactics, supervised practice on patients, and simulation-based practice, should be used to teach novices how to perform ultrasound-guided paracentesis.

11. We recommend that simulation-based practice should be used, when available, to facilitate acquisition of the required knowledge and skills to perform ultrasound-guided paracentesis. 12. We recommend that competence in performing ultrasound-guided paracentesis should be demonstrated prior to independently performing the procedure on patients.

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