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Pleural fluid aspiration

Pleural fluid is defined as the fluid that is found between the layers of the pleura, the membranes of which line the cavity and surround the lungs. The space containing the fluid is referred to as the pleural cavity or pleural space.

Changes in the volume of pleural fluid can be caused by infection, trauma, or other causes and can lead to respiratory problems and other adverse conditions. Extraction of pleural fluid allows doctors to diagnose causes of these changes or to investigate for signs of infection or disease. When a large amount of pleural fluid is present, it is usually removed due to symptoms. Often times, however, the fluid recurs, and procedures to prevent further recurrences are then needed.

  • Types of Pleural Fluid
 

There are two primary types of pleural fluid found in pleural effusions.

 

Transudates

 

One is a transudate, which is a thin, clear fluid. Causes of a transudate may include:

 
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Chest surgery
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Pulmonary emboli (blood clots in the legs that break off and travel to the lungs)

Exudate

  • Infection (pneumonia,TB)
  • Malignancy
  • Connective tissue diesease
  • Abdominal disorder 
  • Chylothorax
 
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