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How does pleural effusion affect the function of the lungs?

The main effect of pleural effusion is its effect on the lungs. If the pleural effusion becomes large enough, it prevents the lung from properly expanding when breathing. This may lead to the shortness of breath and chest pain symptoms. Additionally, blood vessels deliver oxygen to and remove carbon dioxide from the small air sacs in the lung. Overtime with inadequate lung expansion some of the small air sacs may not open and this may result in poor delivery of oxygen to the blood vessels. This is referred to as ventilation perfusion mismatching.

Continue Learning about Pleural Effusion

What increases my risk for pleural effusion?
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Factors that increase risk for pleural effusion include congestive heart failure and inflammation of...
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Is it more difficult to diagnose pleural effusions in children?
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It may be more challenging to diagnose pleural effusions in children, especially in smaller children...
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What is an exudative effusion?
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An exudative effusion is one of two types of pleural effusions. In this type of effusion, the blood ...
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Is pleural effusion serious?
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While pleural effusions may resolve without treatment, in some cases it can be serious. As a large e...
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.