A ROUTINE thoracentesis performed on the ward often fails to yield fluid, particularly when only a small amount is present.1 In such cases, thoracentesis performed under fluoroscopic control offers a safe, quick, and relatively inexpensive method to remove (or introduce) fluid into the pleural space.
At our institution, we have performed more than 100 thoracenteses under fluoroscopic guidance to obtain fluid for diagnosis. The indications have been the following:
Suspected small pleural effusion.
Loculated pleural effusion.
Repeated, unsuccessful attempts at withdrawal by conventional means.
Patients who need pleural biopsy as well as thoracentesis. (The thoracentesis catheter can be inserted directly through the Cope biopsy needle.)
Patients who cannot tolerate upright thoracentesis.
Patients who need replacement of fluid with a chemical agent
Methods and Materials
This procedure takes approximately ten minutes and requires a minimum of materials, which include (1) 14-gauge intracatheter needle, (2)
Collins JD, Byrd SE, Bassett LW. Thoracentesis Under Fluoroscopic Control. JAMA. 1977;237(25):2751–2752. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270520061031
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