Pleural effusion

What is a pleural effusion? A simple explanation.

We have a left and right lung, each being covered by 2 very thin membranes (rather 2 layers of cling film wrapping the lungs). These membranes are called the pleural membranes. In the picture below you can see (in yellow) the fluid and around the right lung of the patient (which is as you look at it, the left lung in the picture) you can see a collection of excess fluid around the lung, called a pleural effusion.

What is a pleural effusion? More detailed video.

There is a very long list of possible causes of pleural effusion. Your health care team commonly see patients with pleural effusions and can do tests to work out if there a benign cause e.g. related to infection in the lung, if it is due to other health problems e.g. heart failure, or whether there is a much more serious cause, such as cancer. This video does contain a bit of jargon but goes into more detail about pleural effusions.

Who is in the Pleural Team in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary?

Click here to see the members of the Pleural Team. You may see them if you have an appointment at the Pleural Clinic. Commonly other health care professionals are often present too, often for further training under supervision.

What tests might I need if I have a pleural effusion?

Click here to read about some of the likely tests that are needed to work out why you have a pleural effusion.

What if have cancer causing my pleural effusion (known as a "malignant pleural effusion"

The "My Pleural Effusion Journey" is a great website, just click here.