thin layer of pleural fluid normally remains in the pleural space. An
accumulation of pleural fluid may occur with some disorders. A sample of this
fluid can be obtained by thoracentesis (aspira-tion of pleural fluid for
diagnostic or therapeutic purposes). It is important to position the patient as
shown in Chart 21-9.
needle biopsy of the pleura may be performed at the same time. Studies of
pleural fluid include Gram’s stain culture and sensitivity, acid-fast staining
and culture, differential cell count, cytology, pH, specific gravity, total
protein, and lactic dehydro-genase.