What Is A Thoracenthesis Test?

Are you dealing with fluid around the lungs? A thoracentesis test can tell you.

Our Loganville and Conyers, GA, pulmonologist Dr. Jeannot is an expert in caring for the health of your lungs. So when you come in dealing with conditions that cause fluid to develop around the lungs, it’s important that we both detect and treat this problem as soon as possible (and also find out why you’re dealing with it in the first place).

How does fluid build up around the lungs? 

While it’s normal for there to be some fluid in the pleural space, when too much fluid builds up, this is a sign of an underlying problem such as,

  • Pneumonia
  • Pleurisy
  • Kidney disease
  • Lung cancer
  • Heart failure
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Cirrhosis
  • After having open-heart surgery
  • Tuberculosis
  • Chest trauma

What are the signs of fluid in the lungs? 

It is possible to have too much fluid in the pleural space and not experience symptoms. Of course, you should turn to our team right away if you develop any of these symptoms,

  • Chest pain
  • Unproductive cough
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath or labored breathing
  • Trouble breathing unless standing or sitting upright

If a chest x-ray detects too much fluid in the chest, our Loganville and Conyers, GA, pulmonologist will recommend a thoracentesis.

What is thoracentesis? 

Our Loganville and Conyers, GA, pulmonologist performs this minimally invasive procedure to treat pleurisy, a condition that causes fluid buildup in the lungs and the chest cavity. This procedure removes the excess fluid. As the fluid builds up in the pleural space of the lungs (the space between the chest wall and the membrane around the lungs)

How is this procedure performed? 

The patient will not be put under general anesthesia but will be sedated to feel calm and comfortable throughout the procedure. It only takes about 15-20 minutes to complete a thoracentesis. We will use ultrasound technology to guide the needle into the ideal location. While you may feel some pressure, you should not feel any pain. Once the fluid has been drained, we’ll place a bandage over the area. You can go home the same day, but you should have someone to drive you home.

How do I know that I need thoracentesis? 

Suppose you’ve come into our office for an evaluation because you’re experiencing any of the symptoms or conditions above. In that case, thoracentesis may be recommended to provide comfort, diagnose the cause of your fluid build-up, or diagnose infection or cancer.

Whether you have questions for our Loganville and Conyers, GA, pulmonologist Dr. Jeannot about an upcoming thoracentesis or experiencing any of the symptoms above, it’s important to call Walton Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine at (678) 928-9700 for an evaluation. Don’t ignore the warning signs.