World J Hepatol. 2020 Dec 27;12(12):1267-1275. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v12.i12.1267.
BACKGROUND: Ascites is one of the most common complications of cirrhosis, placing a significant burden on the healthcare system. Data regarding the optimal time of paracentesis and outcomes among patients with cirrhosis and ascites are scarce.
AIM: To assess the outcomes of patients who underwent paracentesis within 12 h after admission compared to patients who underwent paracentesis later than 12 h.
METHODS: The study included 185 patients with cirrhosis and ascites who underwent paracentesis. The early paracentesis group was defined as paracentesis performed < 12 h after admission (65 patients) and the delayed paracentesis group was defined as paracentesis performed > 12 h after admission (120 patients). New-onset complications of cirrhosis, length of hospital stay, weekday or weekend admission, in-hospital mortality rate, and 90-d readmission rates were assessed and compared between the groups.
RESULTS: Significantly more patients in the delayed paracentesis group than in the early paracentesis group developed hepatic encephalopathy (45% vs 21.5%, P < 0.01), hepato-renal syndrome (21.6% vs 9.2%, P = 0.03) and infections (25% vs 10.7%, P = 0.02) during hospitalization. There were no statistically significant differences in the occurrence of spontaneous bacterial peritonitis and upper gastrointestinal bleeding between the two groups. Length of stay was shorter in the early paracentesis group than in the delayed paracentesis group (6.7 d vs 12.2 d) and in-hospital mortality was lower among patients in the early paracentesis group. Patients in the delayed paracentesis group had a higher risk of developing complications during hospitalization.
CONCLUSION: Early paracentesis (within 12 h after admission) could be a new inpatient quality metric among patients hospitalized with cirrhosis and ascites as it is associated with fewer complications of cirrhosis, lower in-hospital mortality and shorter length of stay.