pleural effusion (transudate)

Last reviewed 01/2018

Causes include:

  • common
    • cardiac failure:
      • initially the fluid may be unilateral, often the right
      • when bilateral the right effusion is usually larger than the left
    • liver cirrhosis
  • less common
    • nephrotic syndrome
    • hypothyroidism
    • peritoneal dialysis
    • superior vena cava obstruction
    • ascites
    • constrictive pericarditis:
      • pleural effusions are less significant than the ascites
    • ovarian tumours:
      • usually a right-sided pleural effusion (Meig's syndrome)