Pleural fluid cytology
How the test is performed
A sample of fluid from the pleural space is needed. For information on how the sample is obtained, see:
The fluid sample is sent to a laboratory where it is examined under the microscope to determine what the cells look like, and whether they are abnormal. “Cytology” refers to the study of cells.
How to prepare for the test
The laboratory test requires no preparation. For information on how to prepare for removal of the fluid sample, see:
How the test will feel
Why the test is performed
A cytology exam is used to look for cancer and precancerous cells, or more rarely for other conditions (like seeing systemic erythematosous cells).
Your doctor may order this test if you have signs of fluid buildup in area surrounding the lungs, a condition called
Normal cells are seen.
What abnormal results mean
In an abnormal test, there are cancerous (malignant) cells. This may mean there is a cancerous
What the risks are
There are no risks involved with a cytology exam.
For information risks related to the procedure to remove a sample of pleural fluid, see: