Many of the disadvantages of abdominal paracentesis for the relief of ascites can be avoided by removing the water waste from the ascitic fluid and reinfusing the concentrated autogenous fluid.
To accomplish this, investigators at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine and the Veterans Administration Hospital, Omaha, have developed a portable vacuum dialysis pump.
The unit employs a single dialysis membrane and requires less than 500 ml of priming fluid, Richard T. Rappolt, Sr., MD, told the annual Conference on Engineering in Medicine and Biology.
By using a pressure rather than an osmotic gradient across a standard Kiil dialyzer membrane, a regulated isomolar fraction of electrolytes and the water waste are removed while serum proteins with a molecular weight of greater than 20,000 remain behind the membrane.
The ascitic fluid is first withdrawn through a Teflon trocar inserted into the peritoneal cavity, moved by means of a small pump