What you should know
Pleurodesis is a procedure to remove air or fluid buildup in the pleural space in your chest. The pleura are thin layers of tissue that form a 2-layered lining around the lungs. In between the 2 pleura is a small, fluid-filled space called the pleural space. You may have surgical or chemical pleurodesis.
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- You may get a fever. The medicines used for pleurodesis may cause you to get an upset stomach. Your blood pressure may decrease. Even after pleurodesis, fluids in your pleural space may not be drained completely. The fluids may build up again, and you may need to have another pleurodesis. You may also get an empyema, which is pus in your pleural space caused by bacteria. If you have an empyema, you may need to have it drained through a tube.
- You may get pneumonia or other serious lung problems. You may have chest pain, and your heartbeat might change. You may bleed more than expected. Powder used in pleurodesis may cause your organs to swell or cause you to have an allergic reaction. You may have trouble breathing or stop breathing.
The week before your procedure:
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.
- Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
- Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
- Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
- Your healthcare provider may need to take a sample of the fluid inside your pleural space for testing. You may need blood tests, chest x-rays, an ultrasound, or a CT scan before your procedure. Your healthcare provider may also ask you to have a PET scan or MRI. Your healthcare provider may use some of these tests to decide where he will put your chest tube. Talk to your healthcare provider about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location for each test.
The night before your procedure:
Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
The day of your procedure:
- Ask your caregiver before taking any medicine on the day of your procedure. These medicines include insulin, diabetic pills, high blood pressure pills, or heart pills. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital.
- You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
- Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
- An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.
What will happen:
- You may be given general anesthesia if you are having surgical pleurodesis. After air or fluid is drained from your pleural space, your surgeon will make an incision on your chest. He will insert a scope with a camera on the end into the incision. The scope may be connected to a video monitor. Gauze cloths may be inserted through the scope and used to dry the walls of your pleural space. A powdery substance will then be placed directly into your pleural space. Your healthcare provider may also use a laser or heat to irritate your pleural space. The scope will be removed and the incision will be closed with stitches.
- You may be given local or monitored anesthesia if you are having chemical pleurodesis. Your healthcare provider will put a tube in your chest and drain any excess fluid from your pleural space. Your healthcare provider will then put a chemical into the chest tube and clamp it. You may be asked to change your position several times. This helps the chemical reach every part of your pleural space. The tube will be unclamped and connected to a bottle to collect and measure any remaining fluids.
After your procedure:
You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. You will be monitored closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. You may need to stay in the hospital for several days after your procedure. This will allow your healthcare providers to check how much fluid is draining from your pleural space. A CT scan may also show if fluid or air still remaining in your pleural space. Your healthcare provider send you home when your chest tube drains enough fluid.
Contact a caregiver if
- You cannot make it to your surgery.
- You have a fever.
- You get a cold or the flu.
- You have questions or concerns about your procedure.
Seek Care Immediately if
- Your symptoms get worse.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.