, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 237-246
Date: 28 Sep 2007

Diagnosis and Management of Pleural Effusions: A Practical Approach

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Pleural effusion is defined as an abnormal amount of pleural fluid accumulation in the pleural space and is the result of an imbalance between excessive pleural fluid formation and pleural fluid absorption. Although the list of causes of pleural effusions is extensive, the great majority of the cases are caused by pneumonia, congestive heart failure, and malignancy. In this article, we provide an overview of the most common causes of pleural effusions likely to be encountered by the general practitioner, and a practical approach to the diagnosis and management of this common condition.