• Diagnostic procedure:  Exudate vs Transudate, or to exclude infected collection or malignancy.

  • Therapeutic procedure:  Drainage of an infected collection requires an underwater seal drain.  It is not appropriate to perform "one off" drainage.  The practice of draining non-infected pleural collections by Pleurocentesis is controversial and should not be performed without direction by the duty intensive care specialist.



Local anaesthesia and sterile technique.  Unless the fluid collection is grossly detectable on clinical examination and on plain radiology, Pleurocentesis should be ultrasound directed.


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Page last reviewed: 14 May 2014