Thoracentesis removes pleural fluid from the chest area known as pleural space. The pleural space is a small space between the outside of your lung and ribs. This fluid is removed using a catheter. Removing the fluid can help relieve pressure and discomfort. We send the removed fluid to the lab to help determine why fluid is building up.

What should I expect during thoracentesis ultrasound?

You will sit at the edge of the bed with your upper body leaning on a table in front of you. Ultrasound imaging will be performed to determine the safest place in the chest wall to access the fluid. We clean the skin area with soap and apply a local anesthetic.

Next, we insert a thoracentesis needle and catheter, attaching a small bottle to help drain the fluid. After enough fluid has been drained, we remove the catheter and cover the area with a bandage. We may perform a post procedure X-ray to ensure no complications have occurred.

How do I prepare for thoracentesis ultrasound?

You should not be on any blood thinners, including vitamin E and aspirin, for one week prior to your appointment. Please discuss with your prescribing physician before discontinuing these medications.

One day prior to your procedure: A blood test is needed to test your PT, INR and Platelet count.

On the day of your procedure: Wear a comfortable two piece outfit the day of your appointment.

When will I get my results from my thoracentesis ultrasound?

Lab results will be available within 2-5 business days.

How do I schedule my thoracentesis ultrasound?

You can schedule your paracentesis with a physician’s order by calling the Diagnostic Imagining Department at 206-860-5496, option 2.