What Are the Treatments for a Pleural Effusion?

Q:
What are the treatments for a pleural effusion?

A:
A pleural effusion refers to an unusual amount of fluid accumulates in the pleural cavity. It may impair people’s breathing by limiting the expansion of the lungs.

According to different causes, a pleural effusion can be treated by medication or operation.

If the pleural effusion is caused by pneumonia, you may get some antibiotics. If the cause is congestive heart failure, you may take some diuretics. Besides, some anti-inflammatory drugs or other pain medicines are used to relieve inflammation and pain.

However, if the pleural effusion is large, infected, or inflamed, the fluid needs to be drained out through operation. Normally, the procedures include:

  • Thoracentesis.
    Your doctor may take more fluid than the need of test to ease your symptoms.
  • Tube thoracostomy (chest tube).
    Your doctor may make a small cut in your chest wall and put a plastic tube into your pleural space. And the plastic tube will stay for several days.
  • Pleural drain.
    Your doctor may put a long-term catheter through your skin into the pleural space to help you drain the pleural effusion at home if your pleural effusions keep coming back.
  • Pleurodesis.
    Your doctor may inject an irritating substance through a chest tube into the pleural space to inflames the pleura and chest wall. Then the two parts will bind tightly to each other as they heal.
  • Pleural decortication.
    Your doctor may make a small or large cut to remove potentially dangerous inflammation and unhealthy tissue.

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.