Pleural Effusion: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Complications


How was your case of pleural effusion treated? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: lindaloo, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 31

Last fall, I had the flu and what we thought was some pneumonia. I had shortness of breath for two months, then an x-ray showed pleural effusion. Lab analysis of the cells of the fluid showed that I have non-small cell lung cancer, stage IV. The main symptom of this cancer so far, for me, is the pleural fluid. I'm being treated with Tagrisso, a drug which can slow this cancer down considerably. I also have a pleural drain tube which I use daily to withdraw the fluid.

Comment from: Gagan, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: July 17

I was diagnosed with pleural effusion in August 2017. The x-ray didn't show anything but only ultrasound revealed it. It was a mild case of pneumonia, I didn't have any cough or difficulty in breathing but a bad chest pain which kept me awake in nights. I was on a course of antibiotics (cefixime) for 10 days plus pain killer. Next report showed no more effusion so I stopped antibiotics but the pain in chest remained for a couple of months which I had to bear (took lot of vitamins and some anxiety drug).

Comment from: busdriver, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: August 04

My husband died last year after being diagnosed with pleural effusion. He had a pain in his right side for a long time and finally went to the doctor, who ordered an MRI. Within the week before the MRI he lost his appetite and was not feeling well. On Monday we went to the hospital for the MRI. Within 30 minutes he was called back to the Hospital. He spent the night in the emergency room and by 6 am the next morning he crashed. He was revived and put on a ventilator. Ten days later the vent was still in and the doctors said they should do a tracheostomy. They called in a specialist who refused to do it saying he was too sick and would not make it. The hospital sent him to the medical center who also refused to do the tracheostomy. He then contracted C. difficile. Within a few days he also contracted Klebsiella. His kidneys and liver shut down and he passed away after six weeks. He worked as a painter for an automobile manufacturer. I suspect he had a lung disease from the noxious fumes. He had COPD and emphysema, other than that there was no indication that he was so sick and was dying. Without an autopsy I am unsure of what really killed him.

Comment from: Joe, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: July 10

My uncle right now suffers so much pain on the left side of his lung after the chest tube removal after treatment of pleural effusion. I just want to know if it is normal or he needs for medical attention.

Comment from: Kimwin, Female (Patient) Published: December 13

Not even a year ago I woke up to what was told by hospital a pulled muscle in my left rib cage. The pain was so intense, I was put on pain medicines and muscle relaxers. Two weeks later I have extreme pain now in my right shoulder blade. I figured pulled muscle since it was the same pain. Months went by and the pain got even worse and now I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t lie down. Still I was being told pulled muscle. After 2 weeks of no sleep I finally got an appointment with a pulmonologist. I couldn’t wait for insurance to ok CT scan so I went to the emergency room (ER). I was admitted due to chest pains, finally help, or so I thought. After 6 days in the hospital they decided to drain my lung for pleural effusion, after that I went into full lung spasm. I thought I was going to die. Lo and behold the pain was gone, but still couldn’t breathe. Eight days later, still no answers and I was discharged. Till this day I can’t breathe, I passed all lung tests, they don’t give tests for walking upstairs or holding anything which I can’t do without feeling like I am going into cardiac arrest. But my heart is fine they say. Now almost a year later I am having an MRI done because the original pain in my left side is back and still can’t breathe. This I am afraid is the way it is going to be for the rest of my life. I have gone to a specialized hospital/doctor also and no answers on the why or the how. It is extremely frustrating. They say it was caused by an illness, but I have not had any such illnesses. So no one knows.

Comment from: survivor, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: April 03

I had pneumonia and pleural effusion in the right lung when I was 7 years old. Today I’m 30 and I always feel a little pain in the right shoulder. I think this is a sequela.

Comment from: trevor, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: July 24

I did my x-ray which was showing plural effusion and tuberculosis (TB). I produced sputum and results were negative for TB and before that I had started taking TB drugs. I am told TB drugs are effective for plural effusion. Six months have to elapse but the pain is unbearable.

Comment from: sam, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: October 22

Five years ago I had tuberculosis pleural effusion and underwent ATT (anti tuberculosis treatment). Now, I am suffering acute pain in my left side of the back at the spot from where my lung was punctured 5 years back to drain out the pleural fluid.


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Comment from: Medical error, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 09

I developed pleural effusion after I had a fall in my home. I was hospitalized and had fluid drained out of my pleural space. The fluid came back the next day. I had a chest tube placed and had a consult with a thoracic surgeon. I had a thoracotomy and two chest tubes placed. A chest X-ray that was taken at one of my follow-up appointments revealed that I still had mild pleural effusion and a broken rib. I still have both problems 8 months later.


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