Pleural effusions in pulmonary embolism are thought to be the fourth commonest cause of pleural effusions.
The pleural fluid is almost always an exudate 2. The presence of pleural fluid is however not thought to be directly due to infarction 7.
They usually occupy less than one third of the hemithorax.
Often can be difficult to differentiate from effusions due to other causes, other than for the concurrent presence of emboli on the scan with no other definite underlying pathology. Approximately 20% of cases may show loculations 4. The affected side may depend on the side of embolic burden (around 85% occur ipsilateral to the emboli 6) and the majority tend to be unilateral 5.
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- 2. Light RW. Pleural effusion in pulmonary embolism. (2010) Seminars in respiratory and critical care medicine. 31 (6): 716-22. doi:10.1055/s-0030-1269832 - Pubmed
- 3. Findik S. Pleural effusion in pulmonary embolism. (2012) Current opinion in pulmonary medicine. 18 (4): 347-54. doi:10.1097/MCP.0b013e32835395d5 - Pubmed
- 4. Porcel JM, Light RW. Pleural effusions due to pulmonary embolism. (2008) Current opinion in pulmonary medicine. 14 (4): 337-42. doi:10.1097/MCP.0b013e3282fcea3c - Pubmed
- 5. Sandevski A, Jovkovska Kaeva B, Gligorovski Lj, Simonovska Lj, Sandevska E. Frequency and characteristics of pleural effusions in pulmonary embolism. (2012) Prilozi. 33 (2): 93-104. Pubmed
- 6. Yap E, Anderson G, Donald J, Wong CA, Lee YC, Sivakumaran P. Pleural effusion in patients with pulmonary embolism. (2008) Respirology (Carlton, Vic.). 13 (6): 832-6. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1843.2008.01345.x - Pubmed
- 7. Porcel JM, Madroñero AB, Pardina M, Vives M, Esquerda A, Light RW. Analysis of pleural effusions in acute pulmonary embolism: radiological and pleural fluid data from 230 patients. (2007) Respirology (Carlton, Vic.). 12 (2): 234-9. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1843.2006.01026.x - Pubmed
- 8. Brown SE, Light RW. Pleural effusion associated with pulmonary embolization. (1985) Clinics in chest medicine. 6 (1): 77-81. Pubmed