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Pleural Effusion

Pleural Effusion Causes

Common causes of pleural effusion may include tuberculosis, autoimmune disease, and accidental infusion of fluids. Other causes include esophageal rupture or pancreatic disease, intraabdominal abscess, rheumatoid arthritis, asbestos pleural effusion, Meig's syndrome, and ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. Pleural effusions may also result due to medical or surgical interventions.

Pleural Effusion Definition

Pleural effusion is a condition in which excess fluid accumulates in the pleural cavity of the lungs, impairing the ability to breath because of the lungs' limited expansion during inhalation.

Pleural Effusion Diagnosis

Doctors usually diagnose pleural effusion based on the patient's medical history and results of physical exam. They confirm their diagnosis based on chest x-ray results.

Pleural Effusion Symptoms and Signs

Patients may have decreased movement of the chest on the affected side as well as diminished breath sounds. They may also feel dullness to percussion over the fluid, decreased vocal fremitus and resonance, pleural friction rub, and egophony.

Pleural Effusion Treatment

Doctors treat pleural effusion depending on the cause. They may recommend therapeutic aspiration, which may be sufficient. An intercostals drain may be inserted for larger effusions. Chemical or surgical pleurodesis may be required in repeated effusions. During these procedures, two pleural surfaces are attached to each other to avoid the accumulation of fluid between them.

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