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What Does Thoracentesis Show?

Your doctor will send the fluid removed during thoracentesis for testing. The fluid will be checked for signs of heart failure, infection, cancer, or other conditions that may cause a pleural effusion (the buildup of fluid between the lungs and chest wall).

Once the cause of the pleural effusion is known, your doctor will talk to you about a treatment plan. For example, if an infection is the cause, you may need antibiotics to fight the infection. If the cause is heart failure, you'll be treated for that condition.

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Thoracentesis Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Thoracentesis, visit

February 24, 2012 Last Updated Icon

The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.