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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Pleural Effusion
      Category : Health Centers > Respiratory System (Lungs and Breathing)

Pleural Effusion

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

A pleural effusion is an abnormal collection of fluid around the lungs.

What is going on in the body?

Normally, a very small amount of fluid surrounds the lungs, keeping them lubricated. This fluid allows the lungs to collapse and expand easily when a person breathes. Sometimes, the amount of fluid increases to an abnormal level. This can happen for various reasons.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

There are a number of causes for pleural effusion. These can include:

  • congestive heart failure. In this condition, the heart that does not pump strongly enough, causing fluid to collect in the lungs.
  • infection, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis
  • low protein levels in the body
  • cancer inside or next to the lungs
  • inflammation in or near the lung, including an inflammation of the lung lining called pleurisy. This is most commonly due to pneumonia, but can also be caused by autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, as well as other diseases.
  • trauma or injury to the chest, such as a crush injury
  • kidney failure, or chronic renal failure


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    Pleural Effusion: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Adam Brochert, MD
    Reviewer: Carlos Herrera, MD
    Date Reviewed: 09/04/01

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