Your browser does not support JavaScript!

Pleural Effusion – Causes, Symptoms and Complications

This post is also available in: हिन्दी (Hindi)

What is Pleural effusion ?

When there is excessive collection of fluid between the pleural space (space between the thin membrane lining the lung and the chest wall) it is called pleural effusion.

pleural-effusion

It generally reflects the underlying pathology with variety of disorders of lungs, pleura and systemic disorders being the cause.

How does it all happen?

The outer surface of the lung and the chest wall are lined by pleural.
Space between them is called pleural space. It is in this space that the fluid is collected and called as effusion.

This happens due to transudative or exudative cause which lead to inflammation, irritated or infection of the pleura hence cause accumulation of the fluid.

Causes of Pleural Effusion:

Exudate cause secondary to damage to lung, inflammation, infection, tumors, and due to blockage of blood vessels or lymphatic system.

• Infection : bacterial, virus or TB

Asthma

• Smoking

• Lung cancer

• Metastatic causes

• Pulmonary embolism

• Trauma (hemothorax)

• Autoimmune like Wegener’s Granulomatosis

• Asbestos related

• Hepatitis related

• Esophageal perforation

• Infarction

• Pancreatitis

• Post Partum

• Post abdominal surgery

• Trapped lung

• Radiation

• Drug induced – Nitrofurantoin or Amiodarone

• Enteral feeding tube misplacement

• Connective tissue disorder

• Rheumatoid arthritis

Transudate cause when fluid leaks into pleural space due to increase pressure in the blood vessels with congestive heart failure being the most common cause.

• Congestive heart failure

Cirrhosis

• Ascites

• Nephrotic syndrome

• Urinothorax

• Peritoneal dialysis

know more…

Symptoms of Pleural Effusion:

• Chest pain (pleurisy) this is experienced while taking deep breaths.

• Dry cough

• Fever

• Shortness of breath

• Difficulty in breathing on lying down or while carrying out certain activities

• Hiccups

Pleural Effusion Complications:

• Lung damage

• Infection

• Empyema, its when the infection turns into a well organised collection.

• Air in the chest cavity (pneumothorax) which can be secondary from the procedural/ drainage of the fluid.

• Pleural thickening (scarring of the lining of the lung)

Prevention:

Quit smoking: Quit cigarette smoking and avoid being a passive smoker as well.

Wear a mask (N95 respirators) to avoid environmental stimuli like pollution or to asbestos particles at work.

N-95-face-mask

Vaccines: Getting annual flu vaccines to prevent influenza and virus and vaccine to prevent certain types of pneumonia.

Quit alcohol: liver dysfunction is major cause of pleural effusion .

Get cardiac work up/ screening done: all high risk patients should be screened at regular intervals.

Diagnosis:

Radiograph of the chest- Chest X-ray shows us changes in lung parenchyma, associated complications ~ signs of pulmonary infections or heart failure.

Treatment:

Treat the cause: fluid in the pleural space generally is a reflection of underlying pathology hence most important line of treatment is to treat the cause.

TOP HEALTH NEWS & RESEARCH

Breast cancer: One-dose radiotherapy ‘as effective as full course’

Breast cancer: One-dose radiotherapy ‘as effective as full course’

A single targeted dose of radiotherapy could be as effective at treating breast cancer as a full course, a long-term…

Coronavirus smell loss ‘different from cold and flu’

Coronavirus smell loss ‘different from cold and flu’

The loss of smell that can accompany coronavirus is unique and different from that experienced by someone with a bad…

Lancet Editor Spills the Beans

Lancet Editor Spills the Beans

Editors of The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine: Pharmaceutical Companies are so Financially Powerful They Pressure us…

Mother & Child

Guide to baby’s finger foods

Guide to baby’s finger foods

What are finger foods? Any solid food that can be eaten directly with hands rather than with utensils like a…

Parenting as a team

Parenting as a team

Raising your kid as a team Parenting is a rewarding feeling for both partners. However, along the way, it often…

Postpartum Period Symptoms and Complications

Postpartum Period Symptoms and Complications

What is the postpartum period? A postpartum period is the time interval during which a mother recovers after giving birth.…

Mind & Mental health

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)- Treatment

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)- Treatment

How generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is treated? The treatment of generalized anxiety disorder is decided on the basis of severity…

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)- Diagnosis

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)- Diagnosis

How generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is diagnosed? Before getting into the diagnosis details of GAD, learn about what is generalized…

Mindfulness: What is it and is it beneficial?

Mindfulness: What is it and is it beneficial?

Mindfulness – the practice of being present in the moment – has gained traction in the West over the last…