Thoracentesis is a medical procedure often used to drain excess fluid from the pleural space, the area between the lungs and chest wall. While it is generally considered a safe and effective procedure, like any medical intervention, thoracentesis does come with potential complications that patients should be aware of. Understanding these complications can help both patients and healthcare professionals to better manage and mitigate risks.

Here is a comprehensive table of the possible complications associated with thoracentesis:


Complication Description Prevention & Management
Pneumothorax Accidental puncture of the lung causing air leakage into the pleural space. Can lead to lung collapse.
  • Use imaging guidance (ultrasound, CT) to identify safe insertion site.
  • Use proper needle size and technique.
  • Monitor patient closely during and after the procedure.
Bleeding Injury to a blood vessel during the procedure, leading to a collection of blood in the pleural space.
  • Perform a thorough assessment of coagulation status before the procedure.
  • Administer clotting factors or platelets if necessary.
  • Apply direct pressure to the site post-procedure if bleeding occurs.