One of the most frequent requests we receive as teaching residents (and probably as senior residents) is assistance with performing paracenteses.

By now, all of the EM residents are probably comfortable with this procedure. But, July is coming! With it comes newly minted doctors and off service rotators who are eager to learn.

Feel free to refer them to this post in order to have the supplies adequately prepared for when you arrive to the bedside [printable checklist below].


Diagnostic Paracentesis Checklist of Materials and Where to Find Them:

_______ Ultrasound [behind resus computers]     

_______ Chloraprep x a few [any IV cart, or resus supply shelves]

_______ Sterile drapes x 2 [resus supply shelves]

_______ Sterile marker [resus supply shelves]

_______ Sterile gloves [resus supply shelves]

_______ Lidocaine drawn up into syringe with small gauge needle for local injection

                               [Lido from any med room; syringe and needle from any IV cart]

_______ 60 cc syringe with Luer Lok – keep sterile [resus supply shelves]

_______ 19 gauge needle – keep sterile [Intake supply room]

_______ 4×4 gauze to apply pressure post procedure [any IV cart]

_______ 2×2 gauze on small tegaderm to apply as bandage [any IV cart]

_______ 3-way stopcock [resus supply shelves]

_______ Vacutainer [any IV cart]



At Sinai, Epic has an orderset, currently labeled as “MSH ED Paracentesis Orders”

You will need to fill:

1 purple top

3 yellow tops

Purple top: Cell count and differential

Yellow top: Gram stain

Yellow top: Fluid culture

Yellow top: Glucose, protein, albumin, LDH


Supplies to gather:


Resus Supply Shelves:


Download checklist: