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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is pleural effusion?
Pleural effusion occurs when there is a build-up of excess fluid in the pleural space around the lungs.
What are the symptoms of pleural effusion?
Signs and symptoms of pleural effusion include coughing, chest pain, and shortness of breath and rapid breathing. Additional signs and symptoms can appear depending on the type and cause of the effusion.
What causes pleural effusion?
Pleural effusion can be caused by one of many disorders including heart failure, cancers, infections, pulmonary embolism (a blood clot blocking a lung artery), liver failure, pleurisy, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and pancreatitis.
How is pleural effusion treated?
To treat pleural effusion, a doctor can insert a tube into your pleural space and remove the excess fluid. This is known as thoracentesis, or 'tapping', and be done periodically if fluid keeps building up. In some cases, draining tubes may be left in the …
Can pleural effusion be cured?
Treatment for pleural effusion is effective, but the condition may recur until the underlying cause is successfully treated.
Will pleural effusion clear on its own?
In some people, pleural effusions (especially those caused by viral infection) will improve and go away by themselves without treatment within 1-8 weeks. For others, pleural effusions will recur as long as the underlying cause is not treated …
About this article
Author: Dr Joanne Van der Velden PhD, BSc (Hons)
First answered: 18 Sep 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.7 out of 5
Votes: 1240 (Click smiley face below to rate)
Category: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease