• Rudolf C. Ulirsch
  • Dena M. Gomez
Part of the Cancer Growth and Progression book series (CAGP, volume 7)


Effusions may develop in any of the serous membrane-lined body cavities. The peritoneal, pleural, and pericardial spaces are the principal mesothelial-lined body cavities that cause clinical diagnostic problems. All three major body cavities share the characteristic that they are normally more accurately described as potential spaces. When fluid of any type develops in this “potential space”, it separates the layers of the body cavity. Excessive accumulation of fluid may result in compromise of normal organ functions. In this respect, the heart is particularly subject to the effects of fluid accumulation in the pericardial sac. Compromise of ventricular filling in diastole may result in cardiac tamponade and rapid death. In the pleural cavities, fluid accumulation will lead to respiratory compromise by preventing normal lung expansion. Fluid accumulation is perhaps best tolerated in the peritoneal cavity, but eventually this also results in discomfort, respiratory compromise, and difficulty with mobility.


Pleural Effusion Pericardial Effusion Mesothelial Cell Ascitic Fluid Pleural Fluid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rudolf C. Ulirsch
  • Dena M. Gomez

There are no affiliations available

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