Safety of ultrasound-guided thoracentesis in patients receiving mechanical ventilation

Paul H Mayo, Hayden R Goltz, Mehran Tafreshi, Peter Doelken
Chest 2004, 125 (3): 1059-62

OBJECTIVE: To determine the safety of ultrasound-guided thoracentesis (UST) performed by critical care physicians on patients receiving mechanical ventilation.

DESIGN: Prospective and observational.

SETTING: ICUs in a teaching hospital.

PATIENTS: Two hundred eleven serial patients receiving mechanical ventilation with pleural effusion requiring diagnostic or therapeutic thoracentesis.

INTERVENTIONS: Two hundred thirty-two separate USTs were performed by critical care physicians without radiology support. Anteroposterior chest radiographs were reviewed for possible postprocedure pneumothorax.

RESULTS: Pneumothorax occurred in 3 of 232 USTs (1.3%). The procedure was well tolerated in this critically ill population.

CONCLUSIONS: UST performed in patients receiving mechanical ventilation without radiology support results in an acceptable rate of pneumothorax.

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