Pathology of the Pleura and Mediastinum

2018 Edition
| Editors: Timothy Craig Allen, Saul Suster

Pleural Fluid, Analysis of

  • Clayton WilburnEmail author
Reference work entry


Analysis of thoracentesis fluid; Pleural effusion analysis


The pleural cavity exists between the mesothelial lined visceral and parietal pleurae. This cavity is filled with a small amount of fluid, termed pleural fluid, which functions to reduce the friction between the pleural membranes during the respiratory cycle. Pleural fluid is a plasma filtrate from the capillaries of the parietal pleurae whose production is dependent on three factors: plasma oncotic pressure, capillary permeability, and capillary hydrostatic pressure. The removal of pleural fluid is through lymphatic and venule reabsorption via the visceral pleurae. It is this balance of production and reabsorption that maintains a physiologically normal level of pleural fluid, 0.26 mL/kg body weight. When a pathological process modifies this balance through increased fluid production and/or decreased reabsorption, the resulting accumulation of fluid is termed a serous effusion.

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References and Further Reading

  1. Burtis, C. A., Ashwood, E. R., & Bruns, D. E. (2012). Tietz textbook of clinical chemistry and molecular diagnostics (Vol. 158, pp. 558–559). St. Louis: Elsevier Saunders.Google Scholar
  2. Henry, J. B., McPherson, R. A., & Pincus, M. R. (2011). Henry’s clinical diagnosis and management by laboratory methods (pp. 496–500). Philadelphia: Elsevier/Saunders.Google Scholar
  3. Sahn, S. A. (2012). Getting the most from pleural fluid analysis. Respirology, 17, 270–277.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Schaaij-Visser, T. B. M., et al. (2013). The cancer secretome, current status and opportunities in the lung, breast and colorectal context. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 1834, 2242–2258.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Vanderlaan, P. A., et al. (2014). Success and failure rates of tumor genotyping techniques in routine pathological samples with non-small-cell lung cancer. Lung Cancer, 84, 39–44.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Texas Medical Branch at GalvestonGalvestonUSA