Purpose: In patients with massive ascites, large volume paracentesis may be associated with complications as circulatory dysfunction. Selection of appropriate patients might reduce such side effects. Patients and Methods: Forty-fi ve patients known to have liver cirrhosis and presenting with massive ascites were included. There were 27 males and 18 females, with age (mean 51.2+10.64). All patients were subjected to full history, clinical examination, complete blood picture, prothrombin time, serum albumin, total plasma protein, serum bilirubin, serum creatinine, serum electrolytes and plasma renin activity measured by radioimmunoassay. Echocardiographic evaluation for cardiac output, pulmonary artery pressure, diastolic and systolic function before and after paracentesis. Large-volume paracentesis (LVP) ranging 8–18 liters with a mean 9.9 L was performed to all patients. Paracentesis induced circulatory dysfunction (PICD) was defi ned as increase in plasma renin activity (PRA) of more than 50% of pretreatment value to a level greater than 7.5ng /ml/ hour on the 6th day after paracentesis. Results: The incidence of PICD in patients with massive hepatic ascites was 73.3% (87.5% with Dextran and 38.5% with albumin). There were no serious systemic or local side effects one week following LVP. Type of plasma expander and younger ages were the only independent predictors (odd ratio OR with 95% confi dence interval CI, 3.01<21.79<157.58 and 0.80<.88<.97 respectively) Gender and other clinical and laboratory parameters had no infl uence. Neither electrolytes levels nor hematocrite value had an infl uence. Ascitic patients showed higher heart rate and cardiac output and lower arterial pressure that was accentuated after LVP (P < 0.01). Echocardiographic diastolic function, A wave velocity and deceleration time of the E wave were markedly increased in cirrhotic patients with tense ascites and the E/A ratio was markedly reduced (0.9 ± 0.3) but was not signifi cantly affected by LVP. Ejection fraction had similar values of the normal patients with a tendency to increase after paracentesis. There were no changes in the left ventricular wall thickness. Conclusion: LVP is a safe and effective procedure for treatment of tense/refractory ascites. PICD is a frequently occurring silent complication following LVP. Salt free human albumin should be the plasma expander of choice especially if at least 8 liters are evacuated. Left ventricular diastolic function is altered in cirrhosis with tense ascites. This may represent an early stage of hepatic cardiomyopathy but was not affected by LVP and this was not refl ected on the occurrence of PICD.
Key words: Circulatory dysfunction, hepatic cardiomyopathy, massive hepatic ascites