A patient who recently underwent a thoracentesis is being assessed by the nurse. Which of the following assessment findings is most concerning to the nurse?
•A thoracentesis is the insertion of a needle in the pleural space at the 8-10th intercostal space on the midaxillary line. This procedure removes the accumulation of fluid in the pleural space, such as an effusion, and can be therapeutic and diagnostic.
•After a thoracentesis, the nurse should be alert for signs of a pneumothorax. This includes diminished breath sounds, retractions, dyspnea, increased respiratory rate, and cyanosis.
•The recently performed thoracentesis greatly increases the risk for a pneumothorax. While a respiratory rate of 25 or an expiratory wheeze is not a normal finding, diminished breath sounds on the affected side would be more indicative of a pneumothorax and would take priority.