Thoracentesis Course

Thoracentesis is a procedure to aspirate pleural fluid from the pleural space.  A diagnostic thoracentesis can be performed to determine the etiology of pleural effusions or to determine if the patient has infected pleural fluid, or a therapeutic thoracentesis can be performed to drain a symptomatic pleural effusion.  The thoracentesis course uses advanced ultrasound-compatible simulators and Saf-T-centesis kits to train clinicians how to perform a landmark-guided thoracentesis or an ultrasound-guided thoracentesis.  This course also teaches students how to manage thoracentesis complications and how to perform pleural fluid analysis.

Our thoracentesis training is a component of our live Hospitalist and Emergency Procedures CME course which teaches clinicians how to perform the 20 most essential procedures needed to work in the ER, ICU, and hospital wards.

CLICK HERE to find out more about our premier live Hospitalist and Emergency Procedures CME course

Thoracentesis Course

Thoracentesis Lab Photos

Thoracentesis Video

Thoracentesis Video


Thoracentesis Course trains students in:


  • Indications for a Thoracentesis
  • Contraindications for a Thoracentesis
  • Complications of a Thoracentesis
  • Equipment for a Thoracentesis
  • Proper positioning and technique for a Thoracentesis
  • Ultrasound-guided Thoracentesis
  • Thoracentesis troubleshooting
  • Pleural fluid analysis
  • Coding for a Thoracentesis

Thoracentesis Photos

Thoracentesis Reference Card

Thoracentesis Reference Card

Thoracentesis Reference Card

Thoracentesis Blogs

Which cirrhotic patients are at high risk for bleeding during hospital procedures?

by Joseph Esherick, M.D., FAAFP, FHM

This blog will offer some expert recommendations to help guide the safety of hospital procedures at different platelet and coagulation profiles.

Why are Patients with Cirrhosis Readmitted to the Hospital?

by Joseph Esherick, M.D., FAAFP, FHM

Top causes for hospital readmission in patients with cirrhosis were acute complications of cirrhosis (especially hepatic encephalopathy), substance abuse, and cancer complications.

Safety of Draining Patients Dry During Large Volume Thoracentesis

by Joseph Esherick, M.D., FAAFP, FHM

A historical myth in procedural medicine is the operator should limit removal of pleural fluid to 1.5 L during thoracentesis because of the risk of re-expansion pulmonary edema or pneumothorax. New evidence supports safety of large volume thoracentesis until no fluid remains.

Alternative Tests to Differentiate Pleural Effusion Exudates from Transudates

by Joseph Esherick, M.D., FAAFP, FHM

This meta-analysis analyzed 20 studies and nearly 3,500 patients. The study found that, on the average, a pleural cholesterol level of 55 mg/L or more had an 88% sensitivity, 96% specificity and positive likelihood ratio for an exudate of 20.3. On the other hand, a pleural cholesterol level below 55 mg/L has a negative likelihood ratio of 0.12 suggesting a transudate. In addition a pleural fluid/serum cholesterol ratio of 0.3 or more has 94% sensitivity and 87% specificity for a pleural exudate. A P/S cholesterol ratio less than 0.3 has a negative likelihood ratio of 0.07.3

Hospitalist and Emergency Procedures CME Courses Available

Register HERE 21 days before the course to SAVE $50-150 and get the following:

  1. 12 month online access to Online CME course, procedure video bundle, instructional posters
  2. Indefinite online access to PDFs of all course lectures, course handouts, and HPC Adult Critical Care and Emergency Drug Reference Drug