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Emergency Medical Minute


Aug 24, 2021

Contributor: Peter Bakes, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Paracentesis is a procedure where fluid is removed from the peritoneal cavity by needle
  • Indications for paracentesis include: large volume paracentesis (5-6L), diagnosis of transudative or exudative ascites, evaluation for spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP)
  • Infection of ascitic fluid is more likely in transudative processes due to the increased frequency of paracentesis
  • E coli is the most common pathogen to cause SBP
  • Treatment with 3rd generation cephalosporin, like ceftriaxone


Aponte EM, Katta S, O'Rourke MC. Paracentesis. [Updated 2020 Sep 9]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from:

Summarized by John Spartz, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD