Thoracentesis Indications


Thoracentesis is a simple and easy procedure which is performed for two main purposes. 1st one is diagnostic purpose and 2nd one involves treatment purpose. When we talk about diagnostic purposes, it is indicated to diagnose many kind of pathological conditions. In this process, a needle is passed through chest wall to pleural space from back side and sample is collected in syringe. Then this pleural fluid sample is passed onward to lab for further testing. The procedure is same in both conditions but time and amount of pleural fluid collected differs. Treatment with thoracentesis takes more time because large amount of fluid is ejected from pleural space. When large amount of pleural fluid is ejected, then a container is attached to needle for collection of excessive fluid. Thoracentesis for diagnostic purpose is recommended in many pathological conditions like

  • Patient with congestive heart failure are strongly recommended to thoracentesis. And it is considered the most common cause. 
  • Patients having any kind of infection like viral infection, fungal infection and bacterial infection. 
  • Patients with tumor in chest region. As sample collected via thoracentesis will contain cancer cells and further tests will diagnose the type of cancer. 
  • Patients with systemic lupus erythematous and other auto immune diseases.
  • If there is inflammation in pancreas, then this procedure is recommended to check the leading cause behind this inflammation. Sample is taken out with the help of syringe.
  • If a blood clot get struck in the lungs then this process is performed. This condition is known as pulmonary embolism. 
  • It is strongly recommended in empyema. In empyema, pus is accumulated in any area of pleural space.
  • Patients with liver failure and tuberculosis are also recommended to thoracentesis. 
  • Any pulmonary reaction in patients if occurs due to medications, this procedure is performed. 
  • The most common condition for which this procedure is used widely all over the word is pleural effusion. In pleural effusion, pleural fluid exceeds from normal level and cause further complications in body like heavy breathing or shortness of breath. This procedure is indicated in pleural effusion of any size which requires diagnostic tests. 

All above mentioned are the conditions in which thoracentesis is recommended as diagnostic procedure but in pleural effusion it is used as a treatment procedure. In pleural effusion, there is large volume of pleural fluid which covers most of the pleural space so thoracentesis is performed as a treatment to eject all excessive pleural fluid. It is performed in emergency situation and in patients who are hospitalized. Trained physician is required for this procedure. Patient have to provide all relevant data about his pathological conditions and past medical history. If patient is on anti co-agulative medication, then he have to quit them immediately. And if patient is suffering from any pathological condition physician may not recommend thoracentesis. Because due to some pathological conditions, this procedure is contraindicated in patients. It is a safest procedure but also have some risk associated with it, so proper care is required during and after this process.
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