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Lung diseases

Pneumonia, collapsed lung, fluid on lung

12/18/2006

Question:

My husband was initially diagnosed with pneumonia, then I was told he had a collapsed lung. A tube was inserted in his lung to drain fluid. This was 5 days ago and the fluid is still draining. It is bright red and he has been given two transfusions. I am getting no answers as to the cause of these symptoms nor what to expect as treatment. THe dr. keeps saying we are waiting for test results when the tests were given 4 and 5 days ago. THanks for help

Answer:

This is a complex clinical question and I will attempt to answer with the information you have sent.

A fluid collection around the lung can occur with a pneumonia and may become infected (also known as an empyema).  The best treatment for an empyema is drainage usually with a chest tube.  Collapsed lung or pneumothorax can also occur with pneumonias when air leaks from within the lung into the space around the lung, or pleural space.  Again the treatment is usually the insertion of a chest to drain the air and prevent it from recurring.

Draining pleural fluid is not infrequently blood tinged and is often red colored.  However, it is very rare to require transfusions in this setting.  Very infrequently a blood vessel may be damaged by infection or in the course of inserting a chest tube and may cause increased blood loss requiring transfusion.

Your regular physician will have a more intimate knowledge of the medical details of your husband's case and will be able to answer your questions more precisely.  It will be important to talk further with his physician.

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Response by:

Ralph   Panos, MD Ralph Panos, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati