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Thoracentisis

Sloaner3
Posts: 22
Joined: Jun 2007

Hi, my mom has colon cancer, but she's been in the ICU for a week now and it is her lungs that is causing her trouble. She has emphysema. They've performed 2 rounds of thoracentisis and removed a liter each time from her lung. Does anyone know how many times they can/will do this?

cabbott
Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

Dear Sloaner,

I tried to research your question some on the web. One webpage described a patient that had thoracentisis and drainage of ascites from the abdomen 40+ times. I was pretty sure I had heard of an operation that is sometimes tried to keep the fluid from coming back. Then I found this article which I hope helps, even though it doesn't say how many times they can drain fluid with the thoracentisis.(You might want to ask your doctor):

A pleural effusion is a condition where extra fluid builds up in the pleural space, which is the space between the edge of the lungs and the chest wall. A malignant pleural effusion is caused by cancer that grows in the pleural space. About half of people with cancer develop a pleural effusion. More than 75% of people with a malignant pleural effusion have lymphoma or cancers of the breast, lung, or ovary.

Symptoms

People with a pleural effusion may experience the following symptoms:
Dyspnea (shortness of breath)

Dry cough

Pain

Feeling of chest heaviness

Inability to exercise

Malaise (feeling unwell)
Diagnosis

The following tests may help diagnose a malignant pleural effusion, determine the exact location of the pleural effusion, or plan treatment:
A physical examination

Chest x-ray (a picture of the inside of the body), which show the buildup of fluid

Computerized tomography (CT or CAT) scan (an imaging test that creates a three-dimensional picture of the inside of the body with an x-ray machine)

Ultrasound (an imaging test that uses sound waves to create a picture of the inside of the body)

Thoracentesis (the removal and analysis of fluid from the pleural cavity with a needle)
Treatment

A pleural effusion may require treatment in a hospital. The most common treatment is to drain the malignant pleural fluid. This may be done in several ways:
Thoracentesis

Tube thoracostomy (insertion of a tube in the chest) for about 24 hours followed by pleurodesis (a process in which substances, such as talc, are used to try to get the edge of the lung to stick to the chest wall to decrease the chance of the fluid returning)

The insertion of a port, catheter (a small tube placed into a vein temporarily), or shunt (a device used to bypass or divert fluid from one place to another) to drain excess fluid.

Last Updated: September 15, 2005

http://www.plwc.org/portal/site/PLWC/menuitem.169f5d85214941ccfd748f68ee37a01d/?vgnextoid=050141eca8daa010VgnVCM100000ed730ad1RCRD&cpsextcurrchannel=1

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