LVP is used to manage diuretic-resistant ascites in cirrhotic patients. Albumin administration prevents complications including acute kidney injury and paracentesis-induced circulatory dysfunction, but the optimal dose is unclear.
We sought to assess adherence to guidelines enacted in July 2011 at our center for reducing the albumin dose administered at large-volume paracentesis (LVP) and evaluate the cost and rate of complications of LVPs before and after guideline enactment.
All LVPs performed on cirrhotic patients in our center’s Department of Radiology between July 2009 and January 2014 were studied. Outcomes included adherence to guidelines, LVP complications, and administered albumin cost. Groups were compared using Student’s t tests for continuous data and Chi-square or Fisher’s exact tests for categorical data. A repeated measurements model accounted for patients with multiple LVPs.
Of the 935 LVPs, 288 occurred before guideline implementation (group 1) and 647 occurred after (group 2). The mean dose of albumin administered was 13.7 g/L of ascites removed in group 1 versus 10.3 g/L in group 2 (p < 0.0001). Of the group 2 LVPs, 235 (36.3 %) adhered to guidelines. There were no significant differences in LVP complications.
Guidelines were followed in one-third of LVPs. Despite this limited adherence, a reduction in albumin administration and associated cost savings was still observed. There was no increase in LVP-related complications after guideline implementation or in the adherent group, suggesting that albumin dose can be safely reduced. Future efforts should be directed at enhancing guideline adherence and potentially further reducing albumin dosing.