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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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Last Updated: February 24, 2012