What is thoracentesis?
In various pathologic situations, there is an accumulation of fluid in thorax (pleural fluid) so that the lungs have reduced size. Some common diseases that cause pleural effusion are heart failure, lung cancer, infections-pneumonias etc. Usually the patient has dyspnea and chest pain. So, thoracentesis i.e. the aspiration of pleural fluid is performed in order to know the cause of pleural effusion.
Thoracentesis is either diagnostic or therapeutic. During diagnostic thoracentesis, 50ml of pleural fluid are aspirated and sent for various tests. During therapeutic thoracentesis i.e. pleural drainage, up to 1000ml of pleural fluid can be removed so that the patient’s symptoms get improved. It is generally a safe procedure if certain safety measures are taken in advance.