Large-volume paracentesis (LVP) can be time and labor intensive depending on the amount of ascites removed and the method of drainage. Wall suction has been adopted as the preferred method of drainage at many centers, though the safety and benefits of this technique have not been formally evaluated. The primary objective of this study was to define the cost and time savings of wall suction over the traditional glass vacuum bottle method for ascites drainage. The secondary objective was to compare the safety profile and patient satisfaction using these two techniques. Methods: We conducted a randomized, controlled pilot study of the wall suction versus vacuum bottle methods for LVP in hospitalized patients. All LVPs were performed under ultrasound guidance by a single proceduralist. Patients with at least 4 liters removed received 25% intravenous albumin, 8 g/liter fluid removed. Demographic, clinical characteristics, and procedure details were recorded. Laboratory and hemodynamic data were recorded for 24 h prior to and 24–48 h post LVP. An electronic chart review was conducted to evaluate procedure-related complications. Data were compared using Fisher’s exact test, t test, or Mann–Whitney U test. Results: Thirty-four patients were randomized to wall suction at 200 mmHg (n = 17) or glass vacuum bottle drainage (n = 17). Wall suction was significantly faster and less costly than vacuum bottle drainage (7 versus 15 min, p = 0.002; $4.59 versus $12.73, p < 0.001). There were no differences in outcomes at 24 and 48 h post LVP, or at 60-day follow up. Performing LVP using wall suction resulted in significantly shorter procedure time and supply cost savings. There were no differences in outcomes between the groups, suggesting equivalent safety, though larger studies powered to detect small differences are needed. Given its efficiency, convenience, and cost effectiveness, wall suction may be a superior method of ascites drainage for LVP.
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