Objective: Large volume paracentesis is an effective treatment for refractory ascites, but the need for routine infusion of albumin or other volume expanders remains controversial. The aim of this study was to assess the short term effects of a single 5-L paracentesis without albumin replacement on total central blood volume, systemic and renal hemodynamics, sodium homeostasis, and neurohumoral factors.
Patients and methods: Twelve patients with biopsy-proven cirrhosis and tense, diuretic-resistant ascites were studied before and 48 h after a single 5-L paracentesis without albumin infusion. Systemic hemodynamics and total central blood volume were assessed using radionuclide angiography. Glomerular filtration rate and effective renal plasma flow were measured by inulin and para-aminohippurate clearances, respectively. Lithium clearance was used as an index of proximal tubular reabsorption of sodium. In addition, plasma concentrations of neurohumoral factors were determined.
Results: Total central blood volume was 2.41 +/- 0.33 L/m2 (mean +/- SEM) before and 2.34 +/- 0.18 L/m2 48 h after large volume paracentesis (p = 0.76). Similarly, no differences were detected in the cardiac index, glomerular filtration rate, effective renal plasma flow, urinary sodium excretion, hematocrit, plasma renin activity, or concentrations of plasma aldosterone, norepinephrine, or atrial natriuretic factor.
Conclusions: A single large volume paracentesis without albumin replacement causes no disturbances in systemic and renal hemodynamics 48 h after the procedure. These results suggest that a single 5-L paracentesis without albumin infusion is a safe and satisfactory short term option for the management of patients with cirrhosis and tense, diuretic-resistant ascites.