pleural effusion (exudate)

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The most common causes of exudates include:

  • bacterial pneumonia
    • around 57% of patients with pneumonia will develop pleural fluid
  • malignancy
    • the incidence in the US is estimated to be between 80 000 and 160 000 new cases each year (1)

The causes of an exudative pleural effusion may be classified as:

  • infective
  • inflammatory
  • malignant
  • drug-induced
  • miscellaneous


Last reviewed 01/2021