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.

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