Ultrasound Thoracentesis

What is a Thoracentesis?

A thoracentesis is a procedure in which the radiologist (x-ray doctor) inserts a needle into the pleural space (lung field) to drain fluid off the lung. Ultrasound is used to visualize the fluid in your chest.

The Procedure:

You will be sitting up for this procedure. (By being in an upright position, gravity will layer out the fluid to the bottom of the lung cavity). The radiologist will insert a needle/catheter into the pleural space to drain off the fluid. You may have the urge to cough, as the fluid is being withdrawn. This is normal.

The needle will be removed when the exam is completed. A chest x-ray will be taken after the thoracentesis. You will be asked to stay for 1 hour of observation following the exam.

Inpatient and Outpatient Preparation Instructions:

  1. You may be required to have blood work prior to the procedure. The Medical Imaging Department will call you prior to your exam. Outpatient registration will have a copy of your lab work, if needed.
  2. Do not eat or drink 2 hours prior to your test.
  3. You will need someone available to drive you home, only if it becomes necessary.
  4. You can take your normal medications with a small amount of water unless you are on:
    • Aspirin, Coumadin, Plavix or other blood thinners - stop taking 3-5 days before the test.
  5. You will be asked to stay for up to 2 hours of observation before being discharged. You will be given instructions prior to leaving.

To better assist us with your treatment, we are asking that you bring a list of your current medications and doses. This information is very valuable and will help us to provide you with the best, most timely service possible.

For Your Information:

  1. After registration you will go to an observation area prior to your exam. You will be asked to change into a hospital gown and assessed prior to going to the Medical Imaging Department. You will be taken back to this area for a follow-up assessment prior to leaving.
  2. An IV may be started in your hand or arm, only if the radiologist requests it.
  3. Relax and follow instructions given to you by the ultrasound staff.
  4. The radiologist will give the results to your doctor. Your doctor will share the results with you; feel free to ask your doctor any questions.

If you have any questions regarding the test, please call 419-394-3335 ext. 3550 for assistance

Grand Lake Health System
200 St. Clair Street, St. Marys,
Ohio 45885-2400
| 1-419-394-3335 | 1-877-564-6897