Risk of Procedural Hemorrhage

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Patients who are critically ill and hospitalized often require invasive procedures as a part of their medical care. Each procedure carries a unique set of risks and associated complications, but common to all of them is the risk of hemorrhage. Central venous catheterization, arterial catheterization, paracentesis, thoracentesis, tube thoracostomy, and lumbar puncture constitute a majority of the procedures performed in patients who are hospitalized. In this article, the authors will discuss the risk factors for bleeding complications from each of these procedures and methods to minimize risk. Physicians often correct coagulopathy prior to procedures to decrease bleeding risk, but there is minimal evidence to support this practice.

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