Complications Associated With Thoracentesis-Reply

Donna R. Grogan, MD; Richard S. Irwin, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1991;151(1):201. doi:10.1001/archinte.1991.00400010181036.
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In Reply.—  We appreciate Dr Duvall sharing his experience regarding the use of a 14-gauge angiocatheter in performing a thoracentesis. Although he has found this procedure relatively safe in terms of pneumothorax, he does not state the incidence of the other complications, namely, dry tap and insufficient amount, that place the patient at increased risk for morbidity because of the need for further studies. He also does not indicate the surveillance method used by him to determine the complication rate.A 14-gauge angiocatheter may be a safe method for performing a thoracentesis, but it has not been proved so in a randomized, prospective study. Our study1 demonstrated that the needle catheter technique, when used by physicians in training, is complicated by a substantial rate of pneumothorax. This method had been previously accepted at our institution as the method of choice for performing a thoracentesis. We feel that any thoracentesis


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