Long-term ascitic drain

What is a long-term ascitic drain?

The overproduction of fluids in the abdomen can lead to bloating in the stomach region. This is called ascites. We can drain the fluid with various punctures, but because these are performed at the hospital, you will need to come in for every puncture. If these punctures need to be performed frequently and we do not expect the fluid buildup to decrease, a long-term ascitic drain may be an option for you. This long-term drain allows you to drain the fluids yourself, at home. A long-term ascitic drain is a flexible tube that can drain fluid buildup from the abdomen. To prevent infection, the drain is placed slightly under the skin first, and will then be led to the abdomen. There are holes at the end of the drain in the abdominal cavity to allow the fluids to easily flow out of the abdominal cavity. This end of the drain that is located outside of the body is closed off with a cap. The fluids can only drip out once the tube is connected to a tube connected to a collection bag.

Illustration of a long-term ascitic drain

What to expect?

Please notify your practicing physician if you use medication that prevents blood coagulation. If possible, you will have to stop using these before the procedure. Most people require a brief hospital stay around the procedure (day treatment). You can eat and drink as usual before the procedure.

The procedure will take place at the Radiology department and will take approximately 30 minutes.

You will be lying down on your back with an x-ray tube. This table is designed for use with image-guided procedures. After receiving a local anesthetic, your interventional radiologist will make two small incisions into the abdominal wall. The drain will be inserted under your skin first, and then brought to the correct position in the abdomen using an ultrasound. The fluids will be punctured and drained. The end of the drain that is placed outside of the body can be closed with a cap. To prevent the drain from sliding out, the end will grow attached to the skin. This will take some time, which is why you will initially be given stitches. These stitches will automatically dissolve.

After your checkup, you will receive more information on how to use and care for your drainage. If possible, please consider asking a loved one to assist you with the care for the drain, and invite them along to this information session. Your general practitioner can help you find care at your home.

If you are not experiencing any problems, you can get up under the guidance of a nurse. You may feel dizzy and you may experience discomfort in the abdomen. If your stitches have not automatically been dissolved, they can be removed after 10 days.

What are the potential risks and side effects?

Please make sure that you follow the care instructions carefully to avoid complications. You can safely take a shower, but make sure that the place of insertion does not get well. This area will be covered with see-through bandages. If this comes loose or if there is any moisture (condensation) under the bandages, please change it for a new one right away.

If you are not experiencing any issues with the drain, it can remain in place for as long as it is needed.