Purpose: To retrospectively register the number and type of complications following ultrasound-guided thoracocentesis, and to evaluate the need for routine chest X-ray after the procedure.
Material and methods: Complications were retrospectively registered from the radiological and clinical reports of 371 consecutive patients who had undergone thoracocentesis with a total of 711 procedures.
Results: The mean volume evacuated was 823ml (range 0-3600ml). Twenty (2.8%) pneumothoraces were found after 711 thoracocenteses, but in no case was chest tube drainage necessary. Hemoptysis occurred in one patient.
Conclusion: Ultrasound-guided thoracocentesis was found to be a safe procedure. Based on these results, no reason was found to introduce an upper limit of the amount of fluid drained in one session. Routine follow-up chest X-ray is not justified in the absence of clinical symptoms.