Pleural effusion is a disease characterized by the occupation of what is called the pleural space located between the chest and the lungs.

he pleural effusion It is a disease characterized by the occupation of what is called the pleural space, located between the chest and the lungs. This occupation is caused by an excess of liquid.

Of course, there is always a small amount of fluid in this area. However, when this amount is excessive, a pleural effusion occurs, with serious consequences for the lungs and heart. This disease is more common in the elderly.

Types of pleural effusion

  • Transude: the cause is the filtration of the liquid due to excessive blood pressure. The pleura is healthy and the disorder is due in most cases to heart failure.
  • Exudate: When the disease is of the exudate type, the origin may be different between some patients and others. The most common are pneumonia, tumor or lung lesions.

Main causes

The causes for which a lot of fluid accumulates in the pleura are very diverse. One of the most common is the heart failure; that is, the heart can not pump enough blood, so that it does not meet the body's needs.

Pleural effusion may also be due to various systemic diseases, such as hypertension. Although it is not usual, the disease can occur as a result of various gynecological disorders and digestive: ovarian hyperstimulation, pancreatic pseudocysts, etc.

The fact that take certain medications It can also cause pleural effusion. The most common are those secondary to bromocriptine and amiodarone.

Symptoms of pleural effusion

With regard to the symptoms of pleural effusion, they can vary considerably between certain patients. In some cases, they do not even show any kind of signal.

However, the most common signs are: chest pain that worsens when you cough or move, cough, shortness of breath, fever, and hiccups.


Once the doctor has diagnosed the presence of fluid in the pleura, the main action is to drain it by thoracentesis. The appropriate treatment is then applied to prevent the fluid from accumulating again in the pleura.


Finally, concerning the complications of the disease, the most frequent is the respiratory insufficiency. When the pleural effusion is infective, a pachycleritis may occur.

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