Forgive me if these questions sound completely stupid- I usually post to the thyroid forum and don't know a lot about lung cancer. My Mom was recently admitted to the hospital because of fluid buildup around her lungs. She had a bad painful cough with fever for several weeks, was given antibiotics, and told she had bronchitis. A couple days ago she had a CT scan which showed fluid buildup around her lungs, and now they want to do thoracentesis on her. She is quite worried about this (both the procedure and why the fluid is there). I have been reading online, and it seems that a possible cause of thoracentesis is lung cancer. But I am wondering if anyone has had the procedure itself, if they can post their experiences with it, was it useful for relief of symptoms, diagnostic purposes, etc.
Thanks for any info.
Thoracentesis is the procedure of removal of removal of fluid from the pleural cavity. It can be diagnostic or it can be therapeutic(to remove the fluid to bring comfort to the patient and improve lung function).In this procedure, a cannula, or hollow needle, is carefully introduced into the thorax, generally after administration of local anesthesia.
The most common causes of pleural effusions are cancer, congestive heart failure, pneumonia, and recent surgery. In countries where tuberculosis is common, this is also a common cause of pleural effusions.
In cases of diagnostic thoracentesis, the fluid that is taken is sent for lab investigations to determine the etiology of the fluid i.e. to find out the cause of pulmonary edema.
In cases of therapeutic thoracentesis, it improves lung function and is useful for the relief of symptoms. So it is definitely useful.
Looking at the clinical course, then the fluid buildup could be due to infection.
It is unlikely for cancer in the lung to present with fever, so it is probably infectious in origin. People with cancer though, can also get infections, so it is also possible to have both.
The post of kindd is generally correct, but the term pulmonary edema actually means fluid within the airways, fluid between the lung and the thorax is a pleural effusion and is the fluid drained during a thoracentesis.
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