TREATING PLEURAL EFFUSION
Pleural effusion can be a life threatening condition that needs immediate medical attention. For severe or chronic cases, your doctor will drain the fluid from the pleural sac to relieve the pressure on the lungs and help alleviate the symptoms of pleural effusion. There are several ways to drain the fluid that range from temporary to more permanent methods, including:
- Thoracentesis – using a small needle inserted into the area of effusion, your doctor will draw the fluid out of the pleura
- Tube thoracostomy, also known as a chest tube, places a temporary plastic tube into the chest cavity to allow any fluid build up to drain
- A pleural drain is a long-term catheter that is placed in the pleura to provide a continuous drain for excess fluid
These treatments are to relieve the immediate discomfort of excess buildup of fluid on the lungs. If the condition is caused by bacterial or viral pneumonia, antibiotics can help treat the illness causing the effusion. Medications called diuretics are used in patients with congestive heart failure to help the body eliminate excess fluid through the kidneys.