Thoracentesis refers to a procedure that is conducted to remove air or fluid that has built up around the lungs. This procedure consists of putting a needle through the chest wall. The needle goes into the pleural space, which is a thin gap located between the inner chest wall and the pleura of the lungs.
The pleura surround the lungs and inside the space, there is a bit of fluid. This fluid helps to prevent the pleura from rubbing together during breathing. When there is excess fluid in the space it is referred to as pleural effusion. It becomes more difficult to breathe when this occurs.
Thoracentesis may be done in order to determine the cause of the pleural effusion. It can also be used to treat pleural effusion as a way to remove the fluid. Here are some things to expect after a thoracentesis.
1. Why Thoracentesis is Needed
There are several reasons why your doctor may suggest thoracentesis. One of the most common reasons that this procedure is conducted is to determine what is causing the pleural effusion. The procedure is also done in order to remove the excess fluid from the lungs. This can help alleviate some of the symptoms of pleural effusion such as difficulty breathing and chest pain.
The fluid that is removed will be sent to a lab in order to determine what may be causing the build-up of fluid around the lungs. Thoracentesis can help to diagnose different health issues such as congestive heart failure, bacterial infections, viral infections, and fungal infections, cancer, autoimmune diseases, blood clots, and pancreatitis. This procedure is one of the best options to determine the underlying cause of pleural effusion. It can help diagnose the issue so that proper treatment can be started.