Find Doctors & Specialists Treating Pleural effusions Caused By Exposure to Asbestos
Pleural effusion is a build-up of fluid between a lung and the chest wall. The pleura is a thin two-layer membrane that covers the lungs. Between these two layers, there is a small amount of liquid. Pleural effusion forms when the amount of the liquid increases.
Pleural effusion is a complication of other conditions such as heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, lung infection or tuberculosis.
It is usually asymptomatic. The amount of liquid may increase and press on the lung, which cannot expand fully and may cause breathlessness. As pleural effusion may be the complication of another condition other symptoms may be noticed such as a cough or fever.
Pleural effusion can be diagnosed with an X-ray. If pleural effusion is the complication of another condition then further tests are not required. If the cause of the effusion is not known then further tests may be recommended.
The treatment options for pleural effusion depend on the underlying condition. If that condition can be treated then the complication of pleural effusion will be solved as well. Normally the effusion is drained through a procedure called pleural fluid aspiration or pleural tap but only when symptoms, such as breathlessness, cause serious discomfort. The problem is that if the underlined condition is not treated then the pleural effusion returns. Other treatment options, also depending on the underlying conditions, are: pleurodesis (a chemical called sclerosant is injected into the pleural space helping the pleural membranes stick together and prevent fluid from building up), placing a permanent drain, an operation to insert a shunt, similar to an internal drain and pleurectomy, an operation to remove the pleura, used in cases of cancer.Prognosis & Survival Rate Calculator