why does fluid build up around the lungs
Most often, doctors will confirm pleural effusions on imaging tests. You may get:
Chest X-ray: Pleural effusions appear white on chest X-rays, while air space looks black. If a pleural effusion is likely, you may get more X-ray films while you lie on your side. These can show if the fluid flows freely within the pleural space. Computed tomography ( ): A CT scanner takes many X-rays quickly, and a computer constructs images of the entire chest -- inside and out. CT scans show more detail than chest X-rays do. : A probe on your chest will create images of the inside of your body, which show up on a video screen. It can be used to locate the fluid so your doctor can get a sample for analysis. Also, your doctor might do something called. SheБll take a little bit of the fluid to test. To do this, sheБll insert a needle and a tube called a catheter between your ribs, into the pleural space. Transudative: This pleural effusion fluid is similar to the fluid you normally have in your pleural space. It forms from liquid leaking across normal pleura. This type of pleural effusion rarely needs to be drained unless they are very large.
Congestive heart failure is the most common cause of this type of effusion. Exudative: This effusion forms from excess liquid, protein, inflammatory cells or sometimes bacteria leaking across damaged blood vessels into the pleura. It may need to be drained, depending on its size and how much is involved. Among its causes are pneumonia and. Your doctor may need to treat only the medical condition that caused the pleural effusion. You would get for pneumonia, for instance, or for congestive heart failure. Large, infected, or inflamed pleural effusions often need to be drained to help you feel better and to prevent more problems. Procedures for treating pleural effusions include: Thoracentesis: If the effusion is large, your doctor may take more fluid than she needs for testing, just to ease your symptoms. Tube thoracostomy (chest tube): The doctor makes a small cut in your chest wall, and inserts a plastic tube into your pleural space for several days. Pleural drain: For pleural effusions that keep coming back, you may get a long-term catheter inserted through your skin into the pleural space.
You can drain the pleural effusion at home. Your doctor will tell you how and when to do that. Pleurodesis : Your doctor injects an irritating substance (such as talc or ) through a chest tube into the pleural space. The substance inflames the pleura and chest wall, which then bind tightly to each other as they heal. Pleurodesis can prevent pleural effusions from coming back, in many cases. Pleural decortication: Surgeons can operate inside the pleural space, removing potentially dangerous inflammation and unhealthy tissue. To do this, your surgeon may make small cuts (thoracoscopy) or a large one ( ). б 2016 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. The underlying cause of the condition and the severity of the effusion will determine treatment. Generally, treatment involves draining the fluid from the chest cavity, either with a needle or a small tube inserted into the chest. Youвll receive a local anesthetic before this procedure, which will make the treatment more comfortable.
You may feel some pain or discomfort at the incision site after the anesthetic wears off. Most doctors will prescribe medication to help relieve pain. You may need this treatment more than once if fluid builds up again. Other treatments may be necessary to manage fluid buildup if cancer is the cause of the pleural effusion. Pleurodesis is a treatment that creates mild inflammation between the lung and chest cavity pleura. After drawing the excess fluid out of the chest cavity, a doctor injects a drug into the area. The drug is often a talc mixture. This medication causes the two layers of the pleura to stick together, which prevents the future buildup of fluid between them. In more serious cases, a doctor surgically inserts a shunt, or small tube, into the chest cavity. This helps redirect the fluid from the chest into the abdomen, where it can be more easily removed by the body. This may be an option for those who donвt respond to other treatments. Pleurectomy, in which part of the pleural lining is surgically removed, may also be an option in certain cases.
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