The lung is covered with a very thin membrane, called the pleura. A similar membrane covers the inside of the chest wall, the ribs and muscles. As the lungs expand and contract, these lubricated membranes glide over each other. There is normally no space between them. But, in abnormal circumstances such as infection, cancer, trauma, heart failure and sometimes for no obvious reason at all, fluid can build up in the space between these two membranes, sometimes in large amounts, up to 1 to 2 liters. This collection of fluid is called a pleural effusion. This causes shortness of breath by compressing the lung and making it hard to breathe. A pleural effusion can be treated surgically to remove the fluid or with chest tubes to drain the fluid and a closed-drainage system to gradually open the lung.
Copyright 1994-2017MedHelp International.All rights reserved. MedHelp is a division of Aptus Health.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.