Thoracentesis

Please report to Admitting 15 minutes before your scheduled exam time.

PREP: Patient will be admitted as an outpatient. Patient should have nothing to eat or drink for 6 hours if receiving sedation. An I.V. is required. Pre-exam lab work is required.

PURPOSE: Thoracentesis is a procedure to remove fluid from the space between the lungs and the chest wall called the pleural space. It is done with a needle (and sometimes a plastic catheter) inserted through the chest wall. This pleural fluid may be sent to a lab to determine what may be causing the fluid to build up in the pleural space.
Normally only a small amount of pleural fluid is present in the pleural space. A buildup of excess pleural fluid (pleural effusion) may be caused by many conditions, such as infection, inflammation, heart failure, or cancer.

WHAT TO EXPECT: The procedure is performed with the patient sitting upright on a cart. The patient will be monitored by nursing staff. The area of interest will be prepped with an iodine scrub and a sterile drape applied. Numbing medication will be administered and a tube will be inserted into the area of interest by the Interventional Radiologist with the use of ultrasound guidance. The fluid will be removed and a bandage will be applied to the site when completed.

TIME FRAME: Plan on being at the medical center for 3.5 hours

POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS: A Pneumothorax could occur as a result of the Thoracentesis. The patient will be monitored very closely before, during and after the procedure. Note: The patient needs a driver if receiving sedation.

POST PROCEDURE: A chest x-ray may be required. Patient will be sent held for observation / monitoring.

IF YOU ARE PREGNANT, INFORM THE TECHNOLOGIST BEFORE THE EXAM.