BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuPleural fluid analysisPleural fluid analysis is a test that examines a sample of fluid that has collected in the pleural space. This is the space between the lining of the outside of the lungs (pleura) and the wall of the chest. When fluid collects in the pleural space, the condition is called pleural effusion.Pleural effusionA pleural effusion is a buildup of fluid between the layers of tissue that line the lungs and chest cavity.Read Article Now Book Mark Article How the Test is Performed A procedure called thoracentesis is used to get a sample of pleural fluid. The health care provider examines the sample to look for:ThoracentesisThoracentesis is a procedure to remove fluid from the space between the lining of the outside of the lungs (pleura) and the wall of the chest....Read Article Now Book Mark Article Cancerous (malignant) cells Other types of cells (for example blood cells) Levels of glucose, protein and other chemicals Bacteria, fungi, mycobacteria, viruses, and other germs that can cause infections Inflammation How to Prepare for the Test No special preparation is needed before the test. An ultrasound, CT scan, or chest x-ray will be performed before and after the test.Chest x-rayA chest x-ray is an x-ray of the chest, lungs, heart, large arteries, ribs, and diaphragm.Read Article Now Book Mark Article DO NOT cough, breathe deeply, or move during the test to avoid injury to the lung.Tell your provider if you take medicines to thin the blood. How the Test will Feel For thoracentesis, you sit on the edge of a chair or bed with your head and arms resting on a table. The provider cleans the skin around the insertion site. Numbing medicine (anesthetic) is injected into the skin.A needle is placed through the skin and muscles of the chest wall into the pleural space. As fluid drains into a collection bottle, you may cough a bit. This is because your lung re-expands to fill the space where fluid had been. This sensation lasts for a few hours after the test. During the test, tell your provider if you have sharp chest pain or shortness of breath.Ultrasound is often used to decide where the needle is inserted and to get a better view of the fluid in your chest. Why the Test is Performed The test is performed to determine the cause of a pleural effusion. It is also done to relieve the shortness of breath that a large pleural effusion can cause. Normal Results Normally the pleural cavity contains less than 20 milliliters (4 teaspoons) of clear, yellowish (serous) fluid. What Abnormal Results Mean Abnormal results may indicate possible causes of pleural effusion, such as:Cancer Cirrhosis CirrhosisCirrhosis is scarring of the liver and poor liver function. It is the last stage of chronic liver disease.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Heart failure Heart failureHeart failure is a condition in which the heart is no longer able to pump oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body efficiently. This causes symptom...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Infection Severe malnutrition MalnutritionMalnutrition is the condition that occurs when your body does not get enough nutrients.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Trauma Abnormal connections between the pleural space and other organs (for example, the esophagus) If the provider suspects an infection, a culture of the fluid is done to check for bacteria and other microbes.Culture of the fluidPleural fluid culture is a test that examines a sample of fluid that has collected in the pleural space to see if you have an infection or understand...Read Article Now Book Mark Article The test may also be performed for hemothorax. This is a collection of blood in the pleura.HemothoraxHemothorax is a collection of blood in the space between the chest wall and the lung (the pleural cavity).Read Article Now Book Mark Article Risks Risks of thoracentesis are:Collapsed lung (pneumothorax) PneumothoraxA collapsed lung occurs when air escapes from the lung. The air then fills the space outside of the lung between the lung and chest wall. This buil...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Excessive loss of blood Fluid re-accumulation Infection Pulmonary edema Pulmonary edemaPulmonary edema is an abnormal buildup of fluid in the lungs. This buildup of fluid leads to shortness of breath.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Respiratory distress Respiratory distressAcute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a life-threatening lung condition that prevents enough oxygen from getting to the lungs and into the bl...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Cough that doesn't go awaySerious complications are uncommon.Open ReferencesReferencesBlok BK. Thoracentesis. In: Roberts JR, Custalow CB, Thomsen TW, eds. Roberts & Hedges' Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine and Acute Care. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 9.Broaddus VC, Light RW. Pleural effusion. In: Broaddus VC, Ernst JD, King TE, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 108.AllVideoImagesTog Tests for Pleural fluid analysis Pleural fluid analysisThoracentesisRelated Information Pleural effusion(Condition)Heart failure(Condition)Cirrhosis(Condition)Heart failure(In-Depth)Cirrhosis(In-Depth) Review Date: 12/6/2021 Reviewed By: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, MHS, Paul F. Harron, Jr. Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- © 1997- All rights reserved. A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.Content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.