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Side Effect: Fluid collection around the lungs (Pleural Effusion)

What is a Fluid Collection Around the Lungs (Pleural Effusion)?

A fluid collection around the lungs is also known as pleural effusion. It is a condition where there is an abnormal collection of fluid in the space between the lung and the chest wall. This fluid can build up and cause pressure on one or both lungs, making it difficult to breathe.

What does a Fluid Collection Around the Lungs (Pleural Effusion) look like?

The symptoms of pleural effusion can vary depending on the amount of fluid present and the underlying cause.

Common symptoms include:

Who gets a Fluid Collection Around the Lungs (Pleural Effusion)?

Certain types of cancer are more likely to cause fluid to collect around the lungs. These include:

How do you treat a Fluid Collection Around the Lungs (Pleural Effusion)?

Treatment of pleural effusion typically involves draining the fluid from around the lung(s) and treating the underlying cause. In some cases, a chest tube or tunnel catheter may be inserted to drain the fluid. This procedure is known as a thoracentesis.

In cases where fluid continues to collect a procedure called a pleurodesis can be done to seal the space and stop fluid from building back up. Two common agents used during pleurodesis are Talc and bleomycin.


1) Burrows CM, Mathews WC, Colt HG. Predicting survival in patients with recurrent symptomatic malignant pleural effusions: an assessment of the prognostic values of physiologic, morphologic, and quality of life measures of extent of disease. Chest. 2000 Jan;117(1):73-8.

2) Sahn SA. Malignant pleural effusions. Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2001 Dec;22(6):607-16.

3) Davies HE, Mishra EK, Kahan BC, et al. Effect of an indwelling pleural catheter vs chest tube and talc pleurodesis for relieving dyspnea in patients with malignant pleural effusion: the TIME2 randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2012 Jun 13;307(22):2383-9.

4) Zimmer PW, Hill M, Casey K, et al. Prospective randomized trial of talc slurry vs bleomycin in pleurodesis for symptomatic malignant pleural effusions. Chest. 1997 Aug;112(2):430-4.

Created: April 9, 2024 Updated: April 9, 2024