The first thing Mrs. G said when she came for the evaluation of her pleural effusion was “I have been active all my life”. However, the simple task of bending over to tie her shoes had become impossible because she could not breath. She described the build up of fluid as terrifying and robbing her of her independence.
The accumulation of pleural fluid or fluid around the lung is a common problem which can occur in a number of disease states. The most common symptom associated with pleural fluid is shortness of breath. It is our goal to rapidly manage and effectively control this problem and restore independence to every patient.
As the fluid built up around Mrs. G’s lung, she described a sensation of shortness of breath and a complete inability to take a deep breath. She said she could no longer exercise; walking was taxing and the shortness of breath made it impossible for her to lay flat at night; she was now sleeping upright in a recliner. In the office, under ultrasound guidance, she had her fluid drained – improving her breathing “almost immediately”. We then formulated a plan to restore her independence and give her control over the accumulation of the fluid.
What is a pleural effusion?