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Pleural & Pericardial Effusions

Abnormal fluid can collect within the pleural space, which is situated between the lung and the chest wall, and the pericardium, which is a covering around the heart.

Both conditions can result in shortness of breath, pain, cough, or discomfort. Causes of the fluid accumulation may vary, and a surgical biopsy of the pleural or pericardial tissue can help physicians refine further treatment. Some patients can have pleural or pericardial effusions treated with tube insertion and fluid drainage, whilst others will benefit from a definitive surgical procedure that can reduce the likelihood of fluid recurrence and obtain tissue biopsy.

For selected patients, application of a special medication (talcum powder pleurodesis) can adhere the lung onto the chest wall to prevent future fluid accumulation.

For other patients, a long-term chest tube, or PleurXTM catheter, can be inserted for long-term drainage. Associate Professor Christopher Cao offers minimally invasive keyhole operations to treat both conditions.

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