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Lung diseases

Fluid outside of the lung

04/03/2008

Question:

My brother in law has been told he has fluid outside the lung. Is this possible? and, can they remove it the same way fluid inside the lung can be removed?

Answer:

Yes, it is possible to accumulate fluid outside of the lung. Normally, there is a very small space between the lung and lining of the chest wall. In certain conditions, fluid accumulates in this space, creating a collection of fluid called a pleural effusion. Treatment of a pleural effusion depends on the size and the cause of the fluid collection. In some cases (such as kidney failure or congestive heart failure) the effusion is treated by treating the cause of the underlaying problem (by giving fluid pills or dialysis), and it will slowly go away. In other cases (pneumonia, inflammation, cancer to name a few examples) the fluid may need to be removed with a needle, and sometimes (after cardiac surgery for example) the fluid will eventually go away on it's own.

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Response by:

Jennifer  McCallister, MD Jennifer McCallister, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University