Original Publication
Open Access

Ultrasound-Guided Paracentesis

Published: April 3, 2014 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9774

Included in this publication:

  • Instructor's Guide.docx
  • Paracentesis Video.mp4

To view all publication components, extract (i.e., unzip) them from the downloaded .zip file.

Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications.


Paracentesis is a commonly performed bedside procedure by which peritoneal fluid is obtained from the peritoneal cavity. This procedure is performed in patients with ascites for diagnostic and/or therapeutic reasons. The procedure can be done with or without the use of ultrasound in assisting with the procedure. As ultrasound can detect as little as 100mL of fluid, it is considered the gold standard for diagnosing ascites.

While educational resources on traditional nonultrasound-guided paracentesis are available, few video resources are available on the use of ultrasound for this procedure. The ultrasound resources that are currently available discuss scanning techniques but little information is included on the paracentesis procedure itself. As such, this video intends to bridge the existing gap by providing an educational resource that describes paracentesis in a more comprehensive manner, including the use of ultrasound in guiding the procedure.

Specifically, this video covers the steps necessary for the performance of the paracentesis. Three techniques are described in the video: blind, static, and dynamic ultrasound technique. The use of two types of ultrasound devices are illustrated in the video in order to maximize the chance that viewers of the video can translate the steps for the use of an ultrasound to the device from their own institution. The video also covers indications and contradictions for performing the procedure, patient consent, patient preparation and positioning, performing the initial scan, required equipment, preprocedure time out, equipment set-up and preparation, sterilization and draping, ultrasound probe set-up, procedure, and aftercare.

Educational Objectives

By the end of this session learners will be able to:

  1. List the indications and contraindications of ultrasound-guided paracentesis.
  2. Describe how to prepare and position a patient for the paracentesis procedure.
  3. Describe how to perform an initial ultrasound scan.
  4. List the equipment necessary for conducting the paracentesis procedure.
  5. Describe how to set up the equipment.
  6. List the steps necessary in sterilizing and draping the paracentesis procedure.
  7. Describe how to use the ultrasound to perform the paracentesis procedure.
  8. Describe the aftercare needed postprocedure.

Author Information

  • Irene Ma: University of Calgary
  • Nishan Sharma: University of Calgary
  • Samantha Nagassar: University of Calgary
  • Ian Wishart: University of Calgary
  • Jayna Holroyd-Leduc: University of Calgary
  • Kerri Novak: University of Calgary

None to report.

None to report.


Ma I, Sharma N, Nagassar S, Wishart I, Holroyd-Leduc J, Novak K. Ultrasound-guided paracentesis. MedEdPORTAL. 2014;10:9774. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9774