Paracentesis: Self Care of Ascites Leak

Patient Education

Use of Ostomy Bag to Contain Leak
In rare instances, due to increased pressure in the abdomen, fluid can continue to leak despite the application of a pressure gauze dressing. An ostomy bag will be placed over the site by staff at the clinic. Ordinarily, the paracentesis site should stop leaking within one week of having the procedure done. You will be shown how to empty the bag and how to measure the amount of fluid. You may need to have another paracentesis procedure performed to remove the extra fluid in order to slow or stop the leak.

Caring for Your Paracentesis Site
Always wash hands with soap and water prior to touching the site. Keep area clean and dry. Leave the bag in place until the leak stops, but no longer than one week. Clinic staff will instruct you on how to remove the bag. You may shower but should avoid taking baths while the bag is in place. Observe site daily for concerning signs such as redness, swelling, or warmth.

You should avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activity until the leak stops. Avoid lying on the side where the paracentesis site is, as this can increase pressure and leaking from the site.

When to Call Your Doctor
 Redness, swelling, warmth, or increasing pain at the site
 Temperature rises above 101 Fahrenheit
 You are measuring more than 1 cup (or 300 mL) of fluid from the bag per day
 Leaking persists for longer than one week

If any of these symptoms occur, please either go to the emergency room or call your physician's office at 612-871-1145 (if after business hours tell the answering service that you need to speak to the physician on call).