Peritoneal fluid analysis is a lab test to look at fluid that has built up in the space in the abdomen around the internal organs. This area is called the peritoneal space.
How the Test is Performed
The sample of fluid is removed from the peritoneal space using a needle and syringe.
Your health care provider will clean and numb a small area of your belly area (abdomen). A needle is inserted through the skin of your abdomen into the peritoneal space, and a fluid sample is pulled out. The fluid is collected into a tube (syringe) attached to the end of the needle.
The fluid is sent to a lab where it is examined. Tests will be done on the fluid to measure:
Red and white blood cell counts
Tests will also check for bacteria and other types of infection.
The following tests may also be done:
Cytology (appearance of cells)
How to Prepare for the Test
Let your health care provider know if you:
Are taking any medications (including herbal remedies)
Have any allergies to medications or numbing medicine
Have any bleeding problems
Might be pregnant
How the Test will Feel
You may feel a stinging sensation from the numbing medicine, or pressure as the needle is put in..
If a large amount of fluid is taken out, you may feel dizzy or light-headed. Tell the health care provider if you feel dizzy.
Other abnormal test results may be due to a problem in the intestines or organs of the abdomen. Large differences between the amount of albumin in the peritoneal fluid and in your blood may point to heart, liver, or kidney failure. Small differences may be a sign of cancer or infection.
Damage to the bowel, bladder, or a blood vessel in the abdomen from a needle puncture
Garcia-Tsao G. Cirrhosis and its sequelae. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 156.
Runyon BA. Ascites and spontaneous bacterial peritonitis. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 91.
George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.