What is the role of thoracentesis in the workup of bacterial pneumonia?

Updated: Sep 30, 2020
  • Author: Justina Gamache, MD; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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Thoracentesis is an essential procedure in patients with a parapneumonic pleural effusion. Obtaining fluid from the pleural space for laboratory analysis allows for the differentiation between simple and complicated effusions. This determination may help guide further therapeutic intervention.

Biochemical analyses and cell counts should be performed on the pleural fluid. The pleural effusions and empyema fluid should also be sent for microbiologic stains and cultures.

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