Thoracic Ultrasound and Procedure Service

A pleural effusion is a fluid collection in the pleural space, which is between the chest wall and the lung. Pleural effusions can cause pain and shortness of breath.

Thoracentesis is a procedure performed by a pulmonologist in which fluid is drained from the pleural space to determine the cause of the fluid and to relieve symptoms caused by the pleural effusion. This procedure can be performed in our office. An ultrasound image is taken before the procedure to localize the fluid collection. Samples of the fluid are sent to a lab where it is tested to determine the cause. Causes of a pleural effusion include, but are not limited to, congestive heart failure, liver or kidney failure, lung or breast cancer, pneumonia, chest wall injury, and tuberculosis.