Pleural effusion in critically ill patients and intensive care setting

Link to article at PubMed

World J Clin Cases. 2023 Feb 16;11(5):989-999. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v11.i5.989.


Pleural effusion usually causes a diagnostic dilemma with a long list of differential diagnoses. Many studies found a high prevalence of pleural effusions in critically ill and mechanically ventilated patients, with a wide range of variable prevalence rates of up to 50%-60% in some studies. This review emphasizes the importance of pleural effusion diagnosis and management in patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). The original disease that caused pleural effusion can be the exact cause of ICU admission. There is an impairment in the pleural fluid turnover and cycling in critically ill and mechanically ventilated patients. There are also many difficulties in diagnosing pleural effusion in the ICU, including clinical, radiological, and even laboratory difficulties. These difficulties are due to unusual presentation, inability to undergo some diagnostic procedures, and heterogenous results of some of the performed tests. Pleural effusion can affect the patient's outcome and prognosis due to the hemodynamics and lung mechanics changes in these patients, who usually have frequent comorbidities. Similarly, pleural effusion drainage can modify the ICU-admitted patient's outcome. Finally, pleural effusion analysis can change the original diagnosis in some cases and redirect the management toward a different way.

PMID:36874438 | PMC:PMC9979285 | DOI:10.12998/wjcc.v11.i5.989

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