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Anyone done a thoracentesis

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My husband Alan had one a couple of weeks ago and

he said it wasn't bad at all. He had no pain after

the procedure. It is the only one he has had to have.

They removed about 600cc of fluid. No problems since

it was done. I know others on the board have had them done

so I hope one of them can tell you more what to expect.

Prayers to you and your family

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Hi, Brandy:

Looking at your profile and some of the other tests your grandpa has been through, he will most likely find the thoracentesis to be a piece of cake. I had one in August 2006, a few days after a chest x-ray found a large quantity of fluid surrounding 3/4 of my right lung. The thoracentesis was done to aid my breathing, to give the CT scan machine a better look at the lung, and to do a fluid analysis.

Though I was able to walk, they wheeled me into a small exam room in the imaging department. The radiologist asked if I wanted to watch the ultrasound display, I said sure, so I sat on the edge of the table while he arranged the monitor in front of me. Next was a small needle prick in the right side for local anesthesia, less painful than practically any dental appointment I can remember. He then inserted a long needle between the ribs and into the chest cavity, which I didn't feel at all though I could see the needle on the screen. He showed me the area of fluid he was heading for, then started drawing it out into a large container. He said I would feel the need to cough as the fluid was removed, and I did, and my breathing felt better immediately. The whole procedure took just a few minutes, then they wheeled me in for the CT scan. Following the scan the radiologist said there was still a lot of fluid visible, so they took me back into the exam room to try a second area. Same procedure, though hardly any fluid could be removed this time -- that's because it was "loculated" or trapped in little pockets of tissue throughout the pleural space. This resolved for the most part after a few months of treatment.

I've heard of some people getting a collapsed lung because of the procedure, and I was restricted to a bed in the outpatient surgery ward for a couple of hours while they watched for any complications, but there were none and I went home feeling fine with no discomfort at all. I wouldn't hesitate to have another one if the need ever arose -- but I'm still trying to avoid dental appointments! Aloha,


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A thoracentesis is when a thin flexible tube, under untrasonic guidance, is inserted into the pleura (lining of lung) to withdraw fluid that has accumulated there. A numbing agent is uaually used before needle insertion. Doc's usually only withdraw 1000cc at a time, to prevent lung collapse. The fluid can be from straw colored to thick and bloody. You will experience a little pain from the insertion site after the procedure, and you will cough; which indicated re-expansion of the lung. A chest X Ray is usually done post procedure to make sure the lung is ok. My husband has had at least 10 done in the past 5 months. He's a pro. Hope all goes well.

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Hey Brandy. I had one done and had 3 litres of fluid drained. I was a bit apprehensive about the procedure but with local freezing it really was not that bad. I had tube hooked up for a number of days as I was in hospital. That was a bit of a pain. After was a bit sore of course. And you have to tape up for a bit when in shower (get some tape from the hospital before you leave)so dressing doesn't get wet. Compared to other procedures I had done, this one really wasn't so bad. In hindsight!!

take care


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Thoracentesis are usually a cake-walk. My husband had 23 of them done. We'd be in the room chatting with the doctor and the assistant while he was draining. He'd get a band-aid, an x-ray, and we'd be off to dinner with friends. The worst part was waiting around in the out-patient area for the procedure. All the staff knew us by our first names, because he was such a "repeat" customer, so they'd try to move us through the system faster. :wink: Tony was one tough hombre.

The relief doesn't always show up right away -- sometimes it takes several hours or more for the breathing to feel relieved.

He had a minor collapse one time, and they sent him home and we just went back the next day to do another x-ray to see if the lung had re-inflated before doing the other side. Collapse is always a possibility and a full collapse would mean hospitalization to get the lung reinflated.

Best wishes,


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