0
Clinical Investigations: PLEURA |

Ultrasound-Guided Thoracentesis*: Is It a Safer Method?

Phillip W. Jones, DMD, MD; J. Phillip Moyers, MD; Jeffrey T. Rogers, RRT; R. Michael Rodriguez, MD; Y. C. Gary Lee, MB ChB; Richard W. Light, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

*From the Departments of Medicine (Drs. Light and Rodriguez) and Radiology (Dr. Moyers and Mr. Rogers), Saint Thomas Hospital, and Vanderbilt University (Drs. Jones and Lee), Nashville, TN.

Correspondence to: Richard W. Light, MD, FCCP, Director of Pulmonary Disease Program, Saint Thomas Hospital, 4220 Harding Rd, Nashville, TN 37205; e-mail: RLIGHT98@yahoo.com



Chest. 2003;123(2):418-423. doi:10.1378/chest.123.2.418
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Study objectives: The objectives of this study are as follows: (1) to determine the incidence of complications from thoracentesis performed under ultrasound guidance by interventional radiologists in a tertiary referral teaching hospital; (2) to evaluate the incidence of vasovagal events without the use of atropine prior to thoracentesis; and (3) to evaluate patient or radiographic factors that may contribute to, or be predictive of, the development of re-expansion pulmonary edema after ultrasound-guided thoracentesis.

Design: Prospective descriptive study.

Setting: Saint Thomas Hospital, a tertiary referral teaching hospital in Nashville, TN.

Patients: All patients referred to interventional radiology for diagnostic and/or therapeutic ultrasound-guided thoracentesis between August 1997 and September 2000.

Results: A total of 941 thoracenteses in 605 patients were performed during the study period. The following complications were recorded: pain (n = 25; 2.7%), pneumothorax (n = 24; 2.5%), shortness of breath (n = 9; 1.0%), cough (n = 8; 0.8%), vasovagal reaction (n = 6; 0.6%), bleeding (n = 2; 0.2%), hematoma (n = 2; 0.2%), and re-expansion pulmonary edema (n = 2; 0.2%). Eight patients with pneumothorax received tube thoracostomies (0.8%). When > 1,100 mL of fluid were removed, the incidence of pneumothorax requiring tube thoracostomy and pain was increased (p < 0.05). Fifty-seven percent of patients with shortness of breath during the procedure were noted to have pneumothorax on postprocedure radiographs, while 16% of patients with pain were noted to have pneumothorax on postprocedure radiographs. Vasovagal reactions occurred in 0.6% despite no administration of prophylactic atropine. Re-expansion pulmonary edema complicated 2 of 373 thoracenteses (0.5%) in which > 1,000 mL of pleural fluid were removed.

Conclusions: The complication rate with thoracentesis performed by interventional radiologists under ultrasound guidance is lower than that reported for non–image-guided thoracentesis. Premedication with atropine is unnecessary given the low incidence of vasovagal reactions. Re-expansion pulmonary edema is uncommon even when > 1,000 mL of pleural fluid are removed, as long as the procedure is stopped when symptoms develop.


Sign In to Access Full Content

MEMBER & INDIVIDUAL SUBSCRIBER

Want Access?

NEW TO CHEST?

Become a CHEST member and receive a FREE subscription as a benefit of membership.

Individuals can purchase this article on ScienceDirect.

Individuals can purchase a subscription to the journal.

Individuals can purchase a subscription to the journal or buy individual articles.

Learn more about membership or Purchase a Full Subscription.

INSTITUTIONAL ACCESS

Institutional access is now available through ScienceDirect and can be purchased at myelsevier.com.

Sign In to Access Full Content

MEMBER & INDIVIDUAL SUBSCRIBER

Want Access?

NEW TO CHEST?

Become a CHEST member and receive a FREE subscription as a benefit of membership.

Individuals can purchase this article on ScienceDirect.

Individuals can purchase a subscription to the journal.

Individuals can purchase a subscription to the journal or buy individual articles.

Learn more about membership or Purchase a Full Subscription.

INSTITUTIONAL ACCESS

Institutional access is now available through ScienceDirect and can be purchased at myelsevier.com.

Figures

Tables

References

NOTE:
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Sign In to Access Full Content

MEMBER & INDIVIDUAL SUBSCRIBER

Want Access?

NEW TO CHEST?

Become a CHEST member and receive a FREE subscription as a benefit of membership.

Individuals can purchase this article on ScienceDirect.

Individuals can purchase a subscription to the journal.

Individuals can purchase a subscription to the journal or buy individual articles.

Learn more about membership or Purchase a Full Subscription.

INSTITUTIONAL ACCESS

Institutional access is now available through ScienceDirect and can be purchased at myelsevier.com.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Find Similar Articles
CHEST Journal Articles
PubMed Articles
Thoracic ultrasonography. Crit Care Clin 2014;30(1):93-117, v-vi.
  • CHEST Journal
    Print ISSN: 0012-3692
    Online ISSN: 1931-3543