What is Pleural Effusion?
A Patient’s Perspective
- The pleura are thin membranes that line the inside of the chest and the lungs.
- The pleura lubricates the lungs and the chest.
- Many different conditions increase the likelihood of fluid building up (called effusion) in this space. They include lung cancer, pneumonia, congestive heart failure, and pulmonary embolism, among others.
- If enough fluid builds up, the lungs can become separated from the chest wall.
- Chest pain
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
- By taking a small sample of fluid from the chest cavity, a needle biopsy allows our specialists to determine the best course of antibiotics for a patient’s condition.
- A needle can also be inserted into the chest cavity to withdraw fluid and reduce pressure on the lungs.
- Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is a minimally invasive approach that can be used to remove abnormal tissue that is restricting the lung or causing fluid build-up.
How We Can Help
If conservative and less-invasive approaches are not effective, a patient may need a surgical intervention. Our highly experienced thoracic surgeons may use video-assisted thoracoscopic or robotic surgery to remove or reduce the fluid or resect any abnormal tissue that is restricting the lung or causing the fluid build-up.