QS Study

Pleural Fluid is an unusual amount of fluid around the lung. The pleural space normally contains 5 to 10 ml of clear fluid, which lubricates the opposing surfaces of the visceral and parietal pleurae during respiratory movements. The formation of the fluid results from hydro-static and osmotic pressures. Any condition that increases the production of the fluid (e.g., inflammation, malignancy, congestive heart disease) or impairs the drainage of the fluid (e.g., collapsed lung) results in the abnormal accumulation of fluid, called a pleural effusion. The presence of 300 ml of fluid in the costodiaphragmatic recess in an adult is sufficient to enable its clinical detection.

Pleural Fluid 1

Fig: Pleural Fluid

Causes: A broad range of things can reason a pleural fluid. The type of fluid that forms a pleural effusion may be categorized as either transudate (heart failure, cirrhosis) or exudates (lung infection, malignancy). Some of the more general ones are:

  • Leaking from other organs: This usually happens if you have congestive heart failure when your heart doesn’t pump blood to your body properly.
  • Cancer: Usually lung cancer is the problem, but other cancers that have spread to the lung or pleura can cause it, too.
  • Some illnesses that lead to pleural effusion are pneumonia or tuberculosis.
  • Autoimmune conditions: Lupus or rheumatoid arthritis are some diseases that can cause it.
  • Pulmonary embolism: This is a blockage in an artery in one of your lungs, and it can lead to pleural effusion.

The clinical signs include –

  • decreased lung expansion on the side of the effusion,
  • with decreased breath sounds and dullness on percussion over the effusion.
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