Pleural fluid smear is a laboratory procedure to check for bacteria, fungi, or abnormal cells in the fluid that may be found in the space around the lungs (called a
How the test is performed
A health care provider examines a sample of pleural fluid under the microscope. If the smear detects bacteria or fungi, other methods may be used to identify those organisms.
How the test will feel
The sample is obtained through a procedure called thoracentesis. For information about this test and its risks, see
Why the test is performed
The test is performed if you have a pleural effusion and its cause is not known, especially if the health care provider suspects an infection or cancer.
Review Date: 10/14/2009
Reviewed By: Andrew Schriber, MD, FCCP, Specialist in Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Virtua Memorial Hospital, Mount Holly, New Jersey. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.