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
The fluid is removed by inserting a thin catheter into the chest cavity.
First, an ultrasound check is performed with a portable ultrasound machine and the point of maximum fluid collection is located, where the puncture can be safely performed.
Local anesthesia is applied to the site.
After appropriate antisepsis and under completely aseptic conditions, a needle is inserted and a thin catheter is placed using the Seldinger technique. A drainage system is fitted and some or all of the fluid is gradually removed.
The rate of fluid removal depends on the patient’s condition and tolerance to the procedure. Often removal is interrupted and resumed after 8-24 hours.
At the end of the procedure the catheter is removed.
If there is no diagnosis, the fluid is sent for cytology and other biochemical tests.
An X-ray is always taken after every thoracolumbar puncture.
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.