A pleural smear examines a sample of pleural fluid under the microscope to detect for abnormal organisms. The test is performed when infection of the pleural space is suspected or when an abnormal collection of pleural fluid is noticed by chest x-ray.
Review Date 12/6/2021
Updated by: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, MHS, Paul F. Harron Jr. Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.