Purpose: The purpose of the study is to describe the effect of a dedicated paracentesis clinic on healthcare utilization by patients with decompensated cirrhosis and refractory ascites. Methods: This Institutional Review Board-approved retrospective study identified cirrhotic patients receiving paracenteses over a 6-month period before and after creating the paracentesis clinic. Patients were followed for 12 months to collect outcome data including characteristics of subsequent hospitalizations and paracenteses. Logistic regression was used to examine the association between the paracentesis clinic and outcomes. Results: There were 183 patients and 1364 paracenteses performed during the study time period. Age, gender, cirrhosis etiology, MELD, Child–Pugh, and Charlson comorbidity index were comparable between the two groups. Rates of mortality, transplant, and hospitalization were also similar during 1 year follow-up. After establishment of the paracentesis clinic, median paracenteses per patient increased from 2 (IQR 1–7) to 4 (IQR 2–11) (P = 0.01); albumin replacement after paracenteses ≥ 5 L improved from 76.3% to 91.7% (P < 0.001); and the fraction of outpatient paracenteses performed in the emergency department decreased from 13.4% to 3.8% (P < 0.001). Major complications remained negligible at 0.81% across both time periods. While fewer patients were admitted for ascites after the paracentesis clinic (39.6% vs. 20.8%, P = 0.009), more patients had acute kidney injury (AKI) during follow-up (47.2% vs. 65.9%, P = 0.02), with a trend towards more AKI admissions (22.6% vs. 35.4%, P = 0.09). Conclusion: A dedicated paracentesis clinic can improve access and wait times, while also reducing admissions for ascites and paracenteses performed in the emergency department.
- Healthcare utilization
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging