How are pleural fluid samples collected and handled during the evaluation of pleural effusion (fluid on the lungs)?

Updated: Dec 28, 2018
  • Author: Kamran Boka, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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Answer

Handle pleural fluid samples as carefully as arterial samples for pH measurements, with fluid collected in heparinized syringes and ideally transported on ice for measurement within six hours. However, studies have determined that when collected in heparinized syringes, pleural fluid pH does not change significantly even over several hours at room temperature. Consequently, if appropriately collected samples can be processed quickly, pH measurements should not be canceled simply because the sample was not transported on ice.


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