Diagnosis and management of patients with pleural effusions
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Diagnosis and management of patients with pleural effusions

Rebecca Myatt Nurse case manager, Thoracic surgery, Guy’s Hospital, London

Pleural effusions occur when fluid accumulates between the visceral and parietal pleura in the chest cavity, preventing the lung from expanding fully during inspiration. The reduction in lung volume, depression of the diaphragm and reduced chest wall compliance cause dyspnoea, and occasionally pain or cough. Pleural effusion is a complex problem caused by a variety of conditions requiring different treatment depending on the underlying diagnosis. This article discusses the causes and treatment of pleural effusions, referencing guidelines produced by the British Thoracic Society.

Nursing Standard. 28, 41,51-58. doi: 10.7748/ns.28.41.51.e8849

Received: 06 February 2014

Accepted: 27 March 2014

Published in print: 11 June 2014

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review