A pleural effusion is a buildup of fluid between the layers of tissue that line the lungs and chest cavity.
Fluid in the chest; Fluid on the lung; Pleural fluid
The body produces pleural fluid in small amounts to lubricate the surfaces of the pleura. This is the thin tissue that lines the chest cavity and surrounds the lungs. Pleural effusion is an abnormal, excessive collection of this fluid.
There are two types of pleural effusion:
Risk factors of pleural effusion may include:
Symptoms can include any of the following:
Sometimes there are no symptoms.
The goal of treatment is to:
Removing the fluid (thoracentesis) may be done if there is a lot of fluid and it is causing chest pressure, shortness of breath, or a low oxygen level. Removing the fluid allows the lung to expand, making breathing easier.
The cause of the fluid buildup must also be treated:
In people with cancer or infection, the effusion is often treated by using a chest tube to drain the fluid and treating its cause.
In some cases, any of the following treatments are done:
Momen Wahidi is a Pulmonary Medicine specialist and an Intensive Care Medicine doctor in Durham, North Carolina. Dr. Wahidi has been practicing medicine for over 30 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Pleural Effusion. He is also highly rated in 13 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Pleural Effusion, Lung Cancer, Lung Nodules, and Emphysema. He is licensed to treat patients in North Carolina. Dr. Wahidi is currently accepting new patients.
Najib Rahman is in Oxford, United Kingdom. Rahman is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Pleural Effusion. He is also highly rated in 12 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Pleural Effusion, Malignant Mesothelioma, Pleurisy, and Collapsed Lung.
Maged Hassan is in Plymouth, United Kingdom. Hassan is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Pleural Effusion. He is also highly rated in 5 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Pleural Effusion, Empyema, Lymphangitis, and Malignant Mesothelioma.
The outcome depends on the underlying disease.
Complications of pleural effusion may include:
Call your provider or go to the emergency room if you have:
Published Date : August 03, 2020
Published 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.
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Broaddus VC, Light RW. Pleural effusion. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 79.
McCool FD. Diseases of the diaphragm, chest wall, pleura and mediastinum. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 92.