Factors Associated with Delayed Paracentesis in Patients with Spontaneous Bacterial Peritonitis

Dig Dis Sci. 2021 Nov;66(11):4035-4045. doi: 10.1007/s10620-020-06750-0. Epub 2020 Dec 3.


Background and aim: In patients with spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP), studies show that delayed paracentesis (DP) is associated with worse outcomes and mortality. We aimed to assess the rate of DP in the community setting and associated factors with early versus delayed paracentesis.

Methods: Patients hospitalized with SBP were retrospectively studied between 12/2013 and 12/2018. DP was defined as paracentesis performed > 12 h from initial encounter. Data collected included: patient factors (i.e., age, race, symptoms, history of SBP, MELD) and physician factors (i.e., admission service, shift times, providers ordering and performing paracentesis). Logistic regression analysis was performed to assess for factors associated with DP.

Results: DP occurred 82% of the time (n = 97). The most significant factors in predicting timing of paracentesis were ordering physician [emergency department (ED) physician was associated with early paracentesis (57% vs 8%, p < 0.001) and specialty of physician performing paracentesis (interventional radiology was associated with DP (88% vs 48%, p < 0.001)]. Younger patients were more likely to receive early paracentesis. In regression analysis, the factor most associated with early paracentesis was when the order was made by the ED provider (OR 0.07, 95% CI 0.02-0.22). No differences were observed in patients with prior history of SBP, abdominal pain, encephalopathy, or creatinine level.

Conclusions: Studies have suggested that DP is associated with increased mortality in patients with SBP. Despite this, DP is common in the community setting and is influenced by ordering physician and specialty of physician performing paracentesis. Future efforts should assess interventions to improve this important quality indicator.

Keywords: Ascites; Delayed paracentesis; Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Ascites
  • Bacterial Infections / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paracentesis*
  • Peritonitis / diagnosis*
  • Peritonitis / microbiology*
  • Retrospective Studies