J Clin Med. 2020 Jul 27;9(8):E2396. doi: 10.3390/jcm9082396.
Pleural manometry enables the assessment of physiological abnormalities of lung mechanics associated with pleural effusion. Applying pleural manometry, we found small pleural pressure curve oscillations resembling the pulse tracing line. The aim of our study was to characterize the oscillations of pleural pressure curve (termed here as the pleural pressure pulse, PPP) and to establish their origin and potential significance. This was an observational cross-sectional study in adult patients with pleural effusion who underwent thoracentesis with pleural manometry. The pleural pressure curves recorded prior to and during fluid withdrawal were analyzed. The presence of PPP was assessed in relation to the withdrawn pleural fluid volume, lung expandability, vital and echocardiographic parameters, and pulmonary function testing. A dedicated device was developed to compare the PPP to the pulse rate. Fifty-four patients (32 women) median age 66.5 (IQR 58.5-78.7) years were included. Well visible and poorly visible pressure waves were detected in 48% and 35% of the patients, respectively. The frequency of PPP was fully concordant with the pulse rate and the peaks of the oscillations reflected the period of heart diastole. PPP was more visible in patients with a slower respiratory rate (p = 0.008), a larger amount of pleural effusion, and was associated with a better heart systolic function assessed by echocardiography (p < 0.05). This study describes a PPP, a new pleural phenomenon related to the cyclic changes in the heart chambers volume. Although the importance of PPP remains largely unknown, we hypothesize that it could be related to lung atelectasis or lower lung and visceral pleura compliance.