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Pleural effusion

Case contributed by Ian Bickle

Presentation

Shortness of breath. Dullness to percussion over the left thoracic cavity.

Patient Data

Age: 65 years
Gender: Female
x-ray

Almost complete opacification of the left hemithorax, with a meniscus laterally.

The trachea is markedly pushed to the right, due to mass effect.

Case Discussion

Simple pathology, but important radiological lesson - white out of the hemithorax.

Is the trachea in the normal position, pushed or pulled?

The trachea is pushed to the right confirming a large pleural effusion.

Ultrasound may be used to assess the nature of the effusion and for ultrasound guided percutaneous drainage.

CT is often used to investigate the cause further depending on the clinical circumstances.

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