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What are the two types of pleural effusion?

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Doctors use the terms “transudative” and “exudative” to describe the two main types of pleural effusion:

  • Transudative: This pleural effusion fluid is similar to the fluid you normally have in your pleural space. It forms from liquid leaking across normal pleura. This type of pleural effusion rarely needs to be drained unless they are very large. Congestive heart failure is the most common cause of this type of effusion.
  • Exudative: This effusion forms from excess liquid, protein, blood, inflammatory cells or sometimes bacteria leaking across damaged blood vessels into the pleura. It may need to be drained, depending on its size and how much inflammation is involved. Among its causes are pneumonia and lung cancer.

From: What Is a Pleural Effusion? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Mason, R. , 5th edition, Saunders, 2010. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine

Lab Tests Online, “Pleural Fluid Analysis.”

National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “What Is Pulmonary Embolism?”

Mayo Clinic: “Heart failure.”

Reviewed by Louise Chang on January 6, 2019

SOURCES:

Mason, R. , 5th edition, Saunders, 2010. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine

Lab Tests Online, “Pleural Fluid Analysis.”

National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “What Is Pulmonary Embolism?”

Mayo Clinic: “Heart failure.”

Reviewed by Louise Chang on January 6, 2019

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How is a pleural effusion treated?

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