Safety, cost-effectiveness and feasibility of daycase paracentesis in the management of malignant ascites with a focus on ovarian cancer.
Harding V., Fenu E., Medani H., Shaboodien R., Ngan S., Li HK., Burt R., Diamantis N., Tuthill M., Blagden S., Gabra H., Urch CE., Moser S., Agarwal R.
BACKGROUND: Paracentesis for malignant ascites is usually performed as an in-patient procedure, with a median length of stay (LoS) of 3-5 days, with intermittent clamping of the drain due to a perceived risk of hypotension. In this study, we assessed the safety of free drainage and the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of daycase paracentesis. METHOD: Ovarian cancer admissions at Hammersmith Hospital between July and October 2009 were audited (Stage 1). A total of 21 patients (Stage 2) subsequently underwent paracentesis with free drainage of ascites without intermittent clamping (October 2010-January 2011). Finally, 13 patients (19 paracenteses, Stage 3), were drained as a daycase (May-December 2011). RESULTS: Of 67 patients (Stage 1), 22% of admissions and 18% of bed-days were for paracentesis, with a median LoS of 4 days. In all, 81% of patients (Stage 2) drained completely without hypotension. Of four patients with hypotension, none was tachycardic or symptomatic. Daycase paracentesis achieved complete ascites drainage without complications, or the need for in-patient admission in 94.7% of cases (Stage 3), and cost £954 compared with £1473 for in-patient drainage. CONCLUSIONS: Free drainage of malignant ascites is safe. Daycase paracentesis is feasible, cost-effective and reduces hospital admissions, and potentially represents the standard of care for patients with malignant ascites.