Diagnostic Peritoneal Aspiration/Lavage

  • Caroline Park
  • Lydia LamEmail author


  • Diagnostic peritoneal aspiration (DPA) refers to the insertion of a catheter in the peritoneal cavity and aspiration of any fluid. Diagnostic peritoneal lavage (DPL) involves infusion of normal saline, lavage of the cavity, and macroscopic and microscopic evaluation of the returned fluid.

  • DPA and DPL have largely been replaced by CT scan and abdominal ultrasound. However, in select cases it can provide quick information about intraperitoneal bleeding or infection.

  • The most common trauma indication for DPA/DPL is suspicion of intraperitoneal bleeding in a hemodynamically unstable patient with a negative or equivocal ultrasound, who cannot undergo CT scan evaluation.

  • DPA/DPL might be useful in selected unstable ICU patients with suspected peritonitis or who otherwise cannot be safely transferred for CT scan evaluation.

  • There is evidence that the DPA is as sensitive as DPL in identifying clinically significant intraperitoneal bleeding.

  • DPA/DPL does not identify retroperitoneal bleeding.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Trauma, Emergency Surgery and Surgical Critical CareUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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