Thoracentesis is a procedure that takes place for the purpose of removing fluid from the pleural space that surrounds the lungs. It is performed by inserting a needle in between the thin, double-layered membrane that protects the lung and the inner chest wall to drain the excess fluid in that area. There is usually a small amount of fluid within the double-layer membrane, but when there is excess fluid, the individual will begin to experience chest pain, shortness of breath or discomfort. This can be used to diagnose many conditions including heart and liver disease, cancers, and various fungal, viral or bacterial infections.
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