Pleural effusion - unilateral - malignant

Case contributed by A.Prof Frank Gaillard

Presentation

Shortness of breath.

Patient Data

Age: 75 years
Gender: Female
Modality: X-ray

Large unilateral right sided effusion. The heart is enlarged, especially the left atrial appendage. Although it is difficult to appreciate, the right breast shadow is absent.

Case Discussion

The patient went on to have a pleural aspiration which demonstrated the presence of malignant cells, secondary to prior breast cancer. Up to this point, there was no history of metastatic disease. 

When faced with a large unilateral pleural effusion one should always consider the possibility of a malignant effusion and perform a diagnostic pleural tap. 

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Case Information

rID: 24290
Case created: 5th Aug 2013
Last edited: 1st Nov 2015
Systems: Chest, Breast
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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