Pleural effusion, or fluid accumulating between the lungs and the chest wall, is a very common complication of a lot of diseases including infection, malignancy, liver cirrhosis, kidney failure, and most commonly heart failure. Patients can be very short of breath due to large pleural effusion. Thoracentesis is the procedure to remove the fluid from the pleural space to alleviate symptoms and send off fluid for studies to evaluate the etiology.
We, at Pulmonary and Sleep Specialists of Northeast Georgia, are skilled in pleural procedures and offer evaluation and management of pleural effusions in the office setting. Our onsite chest X-ray can diagnose the effusion. We then use in-office ultrasound to guide and perform thoracentesis (aspiration of the fluid) safely. This usually results in immediate relief of symptoms especially the shortness of breath.