Background: In patients who have difficulty sitting, thoracentesis is attempted in a supine position via lateral approach. Recently, a new table has been designed for supine thoracentesis. This table has gaps that allow access to the posterolateral and posterior hemithorax. Objectives: To compare important safety-related parameters between lateral, posterolateral, and posterior approaches in supine thoracentesis. Materials and Methods: First, two cadavers were placed supine on a table featuring gaps allowing access to the posterolateral and posterior hemithorax. Water was administered with sonographic measurement of the depth of pleural effusion (DPE) at the mid-axillary and posterior axillary line. Second, CT images were analyzed in 25 consecutive patients (32 free-shifting, moderate-tolarge effusions; mean, 668 (146 - 2020 mL). DPE, craniocaudal distance that effusion can be visualized (CCD), and presence of passive atelectasis at each of the lateral, posterolateral, and posterior routes was assessed. Results: In each cadaver, DPE in the posterolateral route was greater than that in the lateral route (P = 0.002, P < 0.001). The amount of pleural fluid enough to spread DPE to higher than 1 cm at the posterior axillary line was less than half the amount at the midaxillary line (500 mL vs. 1,100 mL; 800 mL vs. 1700 mL). CT showed that the DPEs and CCDs of posterolateral and posterior routes were greater than those of the lateral route (P< 0.001). In thirteen effusions (40.6%), DPE was greater than 1cmin both posterolateral and posterior routes but less than 1 cm in the lateral route. Frequencies of passive atelectasis in posterolateral and posterior routes (81.3% and 90.6%) were higher (P < 0.001) than that in the lateral route (28.1%). Conclusion: Safety-related parameters of posterolateral and posterior approaches in supine thoracentesis are far better than that of the conventional lateral approach.
- Posterior approach
- Posterolateral approach
- Supine thoracentesis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging