Respiratory Medicine
Peer Reviewed

Thoracocentesis is a technique used to remove fluid or air from the pleural space. It can be used as both a diagnostic tool and a therapeutic intervention.

Thoracocentesis aids in the diagnosis of many conditions including:

  • Pyothorax
  • Hemothorax
  • Pneumothorax
  • Chylothorax
  • Bilothorax (a rare complication following trauma or liver surgery)1
  • Malignant effusions
  • Effusions secondary to primary heart disease.

Since the procedure may need to be performed differently depending on whether a patient presents with either a large or small change in pleural space volume, 2 different techniques are described.


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