Thoracentesis may be done to find the cause of pleural effusion. It can also be done to treat symptoms of pleural effusion by removing fluid. The fluid is then examined in a lab.
Thoracentesis can help diagnose health problems such as:
Your healthcare provider may have other reasons to advise thoracentesis.
All procedures have some risks. The risks of this procedure may include:
Your risks may vary depending on your general health and other factors. Ask your healthcare provider which risks apply most to you. Talk with him or her about any concerns you have.
Thoracentesis should not be done in people with certain bleeding conditions.
Your healthcare provider will explain the procedure to you. Ask him or her any questions you have. You may be asked to sign a consent form that gives permission to do the procedure. Read the form carefully. Ask questions if anything is not clear.
Tell your healthcare provider if you:
Make sure to:
You may have imaging tests before the procedure. These are done to find the location of the fluid to be removed. You may have any of the below:
You may have your procedure as an outpatient. This means you go home the same day. Or it may be done as part of a longer stay in the hospital. The way the procedure is done may vary. It depends on your condition and your healthcare provider's methods. In most cases, a thoracentesis will follow this process:
After the procedure, your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing will be watched. The dressing over the puncture site will be checked for bleeding or other fluid. If you had an outpatient procedure, you will go home when your healthcare provider says it’s OK. Someone will need to drive you home.
At home, you can go back to your normal diet and activities if instructed by your healthcare provider. You may need to not do strenuous physical activity for a few days.
Call your healthcare provider if you have any of the below:
Your healthcare provider may give you other instructions after the procedure.
Before you agree to the test or the procedure make sure you know: