Fluid from the chest cavity can be removed at home
Fluid in the chest cavity (pleural effusion) often accumulates from various causes, the most common of which are:
- Heart failure
- Lung cancer
Doctors use a portable ultrasound to locate the safest spot for chest cavity fluid removal. They numb the area and, in sterile conditions, insert a needle and a thin catheter using the Seldinger technique. They then attach a drainage system to remove the fluid, adjusting the amount based on the patient’s condition and tolerance. The procedure may pause and resume later if needed.
After the procedure, they take out the catheter. If needed, the fluid is tested for diagnosis. An X-ray is always done after this procedure.
If the fluid reproduces at a rate requiring frequent draining punctures, pleurodesis is indicated .
Pleurodesis is performed in a hospital, in an operating room environment. A large-diameter tube is inserted into the chest cavity, all the fluid is removed, and then a substance (usually talc) is inserted that causes the lung to stick to the chest wall so that there is no more space available for new pleural fluid to collect.
A key element for the success of the method is the care of the patient by the thoracic surgeon in the first hours and days after the operation.