Practical Practical: Streamlined Joint Fluid Drainage

Cameron Priesmeyer, MS

To easily drain an ulnar bursa or a patellar effusion of any size--and simplify preparation of the aspirate for transfer--use an evacuated blood draw kit with an 18-gauge needle attachment, a see-through-labeled tube coated with whatever anticoagulant your laboratory specifies, and several large additive-free tubes. Begin with the coated tube

To easily drain an ulnar bursa or a patellar effusion of any size--and simplify preparation of the aspirate for transfer--use an evacuated blood draw kit with an 18-gauge needle attachment, a see-through-labeled tube coated with whatever anticoagulant your laboratory specifies, and several large additive-free tubes. Begin with the coated tube. If more than 7 to 10 mL of fluid must be drained, simply exchange the full tube for one of the uncoated ones. Use of an anticoagulant-coated tube to begin the aspiration creates a specimen of about 7 mL that can be examined in the tube visually and then sent "as is" to the lab for analysis. This method also provides a ready and reliable estimate of the volume of fluid drained.