After undergoing thoracentesis, a fluid sample is sent to the lab for evaluation. The sample reveals a high presence of white blood cells. The nurse interprets this as consistent with

infection

Explanation

•An infection in the pleural space causes white blood cells to accumulate in the pleural fluid.

•The presence of red blood cells could indicate trauma or be secondary to anticoagulation.

•Pleural fluid secondary to heart failure typically has a normal pattern of cells.

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