[Skip to Navigation]
January 1991

Complications Associated With Thoracentesis

Author Affiliations

Washington, DC

Arch Intern Med. 1991;151(1):201. doi:10.1001/archinte.1991.00400010181035

To the Editor. —  I am writing with respect to the article by Grogan et al1 in the April issue of the ARCHIVES concerning the complications associated with three different techniques of thoracentesis. In the small universe studied, the proper conclusions were drawn with the resulting recommendation favoring a comparatively costintensive, but reasonably safe procedure using sonographic guidance. In my over 20-year oncological practice, I have treated only two pneumothoraces, both in the same patient, but using a somewhat different method, as follows. Instead of the catheter threaded inside the needle, a 14-gauge angiocatheter is attached to a threeway stopcock with a 20-mL syringe and a length of intravenous tubing is filled in on the other end. The chest is entered, fluid removed for diagnostic studies and with the patient's breath held, the needle stylet is quickly removed from the angiocatheter with digital pressure momentarily applied to the open