Pleural effusion

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In medicine, a pleural effusion is the "presence of fluid in the pleural cavity resulting from excessive transudation or exudation from the pleural surfaces. It is a sign of disease and not a diagnosis in itself."[1]


Physical examination

Dullness to percussion was the best sign at diagnosing an effusion (positive likelihood ratio 8.7) while "the absence of reduced tactile vocal fremitus made pleural effusion less likely (negative likelihood ratio, 0.21)" according to a systematic review by the Rational Clinical Examination.[2]


  1. Anonymous (2015), Pleural effusion (English). Medical Subject Headings. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  2. Wong CL, Holroyd-Leduc J, Straus SE (January 2009). "Does this patient have a pleural effusion?". JAMA 301 (3): 309–17. DOI:10.1001/jama.2008.937. PMID 19155458. Research Blogging.