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What are the signs and symptoms of pleural effusion?

The most common symptoms, regardless of the type of fluid in the pleural space or its cause, are shortness of breath and chest pain. However, many people with pleural effusion have no symptoms at all. When the parietal pleura is irritated, the patient may have mild pain that quickly passes or, sometimes, a sharp, stabbing pleuritic type of pain. Some patients will have a dry cough. Occasionally a patient will have no symptoms at all. This is more likely when the effusion results from recent abdominal surgery, cancer, or tuberculosis. Tapping on the chest will show that the usual crisp sounds have become dull, and on listening with a stethoscope the normal breath sounds are muted. If the pleura is inflamed, there may be a scratchy sound called a"pleural friction rub."


More information on pleural effusion

What is pleural effusion? - A pleural effusion is the buildup of fluid between the outer lining of the lungs (visceral lining) and the inner lining of the chest cavity.
What causes pleural effusion? - Transudative pleural effusions are usually caused by a disorder in the normal pressure in the lung. The cause and type of pleural effusion is determined by thoracentesis.
What're the symptoms of pleural effusion? - The most common symptoms of pleural effusion are shortness of breath and chest pain.
How is pleural effusion diagnosed? - Diagnosis of pleural effusion is ccomplished with a simple chest x-ray, further radiographic tests may be needed to confirm the presence of pleural fluid.
What's the treatment for pleural effusion? - Treatment of pleural effusion may be directed at removing the fluid, preventing its re-accumulation, or addressing the underlying cause of the fluid buildup.
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