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Paracentesis and Thoracentesis Procedures

Paracentesis and Thoracentesis ProceduresIf you have been told that you have fluid in your abdomen or lung then you may need to have paracentesis or thoracentesis performed to treat your condition. At Azura Vascular Care, our vascular specialists offer both of these minimally invasive procedures.

What is Paracentesis?

Paracentesis is a procedure to drain fluid from your abdomen.  The fluid is removed to decrease pressure in your abdomen and/or to examine the fluid in a laboratory.  Fluid build-up can sometimes cause problems with your bowels and your breathing.

What Will Happen During the Procedure?

Your abdomen will be scrubbed with a cleaning solution and a numbing medication will be injected into the area.

Ultrasound will be used to help your doctor guide the needle.  A needle with a plastic tube (catheter) will be placed into your abdomen.  Once the doctor removes some fluid, the needle will be removed and the catheter will stay in place. The catheter will connect to tubing that drains the fluid into a bottle.  The catheter is removed when all the fluid is drained.  A bandage will be placed over the catheter exit site on your abdomen.

What Will Happen After the Procedure?

Your abdomen will be cleaned and your blood pressure will be taken.  The fluid removed during the paracentesis may be sent to the laboratory for more testing.

You may notice less tightness around your abdomen and it will feel less full.  You may be able to breathe better which should help you feel more comfortable.

What Should I do After the Paracentesis Procedure?

  • Limit your physical activity for the rest of the day of the procedure
  • Keep the area on your abdomen where the catheter was inserted dry and covered to prevent infection
  • Do not lift or push anything that is 10 pounds or more for 1 to 2 days after this procedure
  • Talk to your doctor about when you may resume your normal activity

What is Thoracentesis?

Thoracentesis is a procedure to drain fluid from around your lungs in the pleural space, which is the space between your lung and chest cavity.  The fluid is removed for evaluation in a laboratory or to simply reduce the amount of fluid.

What Will Happen During the Procedure?

A thin needle or tube will be placed into the pleural space.  The needle or tube is inserted through the skin, between the ribs and into the chest to drain the fluid. The needle or tube is removed when the procedure is completed.  If you need more fluid drained, the tube may be left in place for a longer period of time.

Who is A Candidate for Thoracentesis?

Thoracentesis can help diagnose health problems such as:

  • Congestive heart failure (CHF)
  • Viral, fungal, or bacterial infections
  • Cancer
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an autoimmune disease
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • A blood clot in the lung (pulmonary embolism)
  • An area of pus in the pleural space (empyema)
  • Liver failure
  • High blood pressure in lung blood vessels (pulmonary hypertension)
  • Tuberculosis (TB)
  • Pneumonia
  • Reactions to medicines

What are the Risks of Thoracentesis?

All procedures have some risks.  The risks of thoracentesis may include:

  • Collapsed lung (pneumothorax)
  • Fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema )
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Liver or spleen injury (rare)

Your risks may vary depending on your general health and other factors.  Ask your doctor which risks apply most to you and discuss any concerns you may have.

What Should I do After the Thoracentesis?

After the procedure, your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing will be watched.  The bandage over the puncture site will be checked for bleeding or other fluid leakage.  Once your doctor determines that you are in stable condition you will be sent home.

At home, you can go back to your normal diet and activities as instructed by your healthcare provider.  You may need to avoid strenuous physical activity for a few days.

Call your doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • Fever of 100.4°F  or higher
  • Redness or swelling of the needle site
  • Blood or other fluid leaking from the needle site
  • Feeling short of breath
  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest pain

How We Can Help You

If you have been told that you need fluid removed from your abdomen or around your lungs, our physician specialists can help. Our interventional radiologists and vascular surgeons use minimally invasive techniques to treat your condition, and provide symptomatic relief.

At Azura Vascular Care, we work every day to deliver far more than our patients expect. We bring our full range of medical capabilities and service excellence to every patient, every visit at each of our centers nationwide.

If you are ready to consult with one of our specialists, find a center near you or search for one of our physicians.


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