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Pleural Effusion Symptoms & Diagnosis

Symptoms

Some types of pleural effusion do not cause symptoms. Others cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Shallow breathing
  • Rapid pulse or breathing rate
  • Weight loss
  • Fever, chills, or sweating
  • Hiccupping

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. This may include listening to or tapping on your chest.

Tests may include:

  • Chest x-ray —a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the chest
  • Ultrasound—a test that uses sound waves to examine structures inside the chest
  • CT scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures in the chest
  • Thoracentesis —fluid sample extracted from the pleural space around the lungs with a needle
  • Pulmonary function tests —to check breathing ability
  • Biopsy —removal of a sample of pleural tissue for testing

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2019 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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