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What is a pleural effusion?

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A pleural effusion is an unusual amount of fluid around the lung. There are many medical conditions that can lead to it, so even though your pleural effusion may have to be drained, your doctor likely will target the treatment at whatever caused it.

The pleura is a thin membrane that lines the surface of the lungs and the inside of the chest wall outside the lungs. In pleural effusions, fluid builds up in the space between the layers of pleura.

Normally, only teaspoons of watery fluid are in the pleural space, allowing the lungs to move smoothly within the chest cavity during breathing.

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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What are common causes of a pleural effusion?

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