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How is pleural effusion diagnosed?

Pleural effusion is diagnosed from: the various symptoms and a medical history; a physical examination of the chest, and; imaging tests (chest X-rays, chest ultrasound, or computerized tomography (CT) scan). When aspirating the pleural effusion, a sample of the fluid is analyzed to determine the underlying cause of the effusion.

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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


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