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October 10, 1977

Ultrasound and Thoracentesis

JAMA. 1977;238(15):1631. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280160025018

To the Editor. —  A recent article, "Thoracentesis Under Fluoroscopic Control" by Collins et al (237:2751-2752, 1977), describes a method of obtaining pleural fluid when a small amount is present and when it may be difficult to find by other methods.When suitable ultrasonic diagnostic equipment is present, radiation exposure both to the patient and operator can be saved by localizing the pleural fluid by ultrasound and aspirating it under ultrasonic guidance. Ultrasonic diagnosis is of little use in the lung itself. However, when pleural fluid is adjacent to the chest wall, it can be localized by ultrasound and a suitable puncture site identified.