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Complications Associated With Thoracentesis

Bernard J. Roth, MC; W. Hal Cragun, MC; Kurt W. A. Grathwohl, MC
Arch Intern Med. 1991;151(10):2095-2096. doi:10.1001/archinte.1991.00400100147026.
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To the Editor. —  We read with interest the article by Grogan et al1 on complications associated with thoracentesis. Being part of a pulmonary fellowship training program in a military teaching hospital, we are responsible for teaching pulmonary medicine to internal medicine residents. We were surprised by the high rate of overall complications that Grogan et al found in their prospective study. We were also concerned because in our hospital most house staff learn thoracentesis from senior residents or nonpulmonary staff rotating on the ward. Because the ultrasoundguided procedures were done by radiology residents and the others were done by medicine house staff, it is possible that differences between outcomes can be explained by differences in performers' experience. We decided to ascertain the incidence of complications with thoracentesis at Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, Wash.We used our inpatient computer file to identify all thoracenteses performed from January 1, 1989,


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