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Lung diseases

Lung Water (Need Urgent Answer)

04/05/2010

Question:

My hubby is suffering from pulmonary edema. on 30th march 2010 the water is removed.About 600ml. And today i.e. 2nd april 2010 morning when we done the x-ray we found that lung is again filled with water which is about 30% of 600ml. We are waiting for the biopsy report. But we are very worried why it is happening? Is it TB, Pneumonia, or lung cancer. Please help us. Please. Oh i guess i should mention that he also have gout. Please let us know the possible reason of reoccurring lung water.As soon as possible. Please

Answer:

The question actually suggests two different issues, which may or may not be related. I will generally discuss both.

1) Pulmonary edema is fluid that accumulates within the lung tissue and cannot be withdrawn from the chest by a needle. Pulmonary edema occurs most commonly when there is backpressure from the heart (due to a variety of problems) to the lung causing fluid to accumulate there. If this pressure is significant or prolonged, it can also lead to a pleural effusion. (See #2)

2) Fluid that is removed by placing a needle through the chest wall is typically located within the potential space between the lung and chest wall and is typically referred to as a "pleural effusion".

What causes this fluid accumulation can be different in different people and includes some of the problems which were listed in the original question in addition to many more.

Finding out what causes a pleural effusion is important in understanding what to do about it. Many times, although not always, the composition and appearance of the fluid can help tell what is causing it. If pleural fluid is taken from the chest, it may be sent for a variety of chemical, cellular and/or infectious tests (if indicated). These results may indicate the cause of the fluid accumulation. If no conclusive answer is discovered from preliminary analysis, additional testing or biopsy may be indicated in some cases.

Once one understands what is likely causing the fluid, treatment options can be discussed.

Clarifying with your doctor whether pulmonary edema and/or pleural effusion is present and what if any results from testing are available will be useful in understanding the current situation.

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Response by:

Robert  Schilz, DO, PhD Robert Schilz, DO, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University