However, a large amount of extra fluid can push the pleura against the lung until the lung, or a part of it, collapses. This can make it hard to breathe.
In some cases of pleural effusion, the extra fluid gets infected and turns into an abscess. This is called an empyema.
Pleural effusion can develop even in a person who doesn't have pleurisy. For example, pneumonia, heart failure, cancer, or a pulmonary embolism can lead to a pleural effusion.
What causes pleural effusion?The most common cause of pleural effusion, or fluid in the pleural space, is congestive heart failure. Lung cancer, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and other lung infections also can cause swelling of the pleura and lead to a pleural effusion. Asbestosis, sarcoidosis, and reactions to some medicines also can lead to pleural swelling and pleural effusion.
What are the signs and symptoms of pleural effusion?Pleural effusion often has no symptoms. However, the build-up of fluid on the lung makes it difficult for the lung to expand fully so that in some cases part or all of the lung will collapse. This can cause increasing breathlessness, not only during exertion, but even at rest. There may also be some chest pain and a cough.
How is pleural effusion diagnosed?For methods of diagnosis, go here.
How is pleural effusion treated?For methods of treatment, go here.
Related category• HEALTH AND DISEASE
Source: U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
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