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Lung diseases

Pneumonia, Pleurisy and Pleural Effusion

02/03/2011

Question:

I have been coughing for 14 months now, I went to see GP 8 months ago and was sent for a chest xray, which was clear, 2 months ago I developed pleuritic chest pain, again my chest xray was clear, but blood showed raised inflamatory markers, a vq scan showed a right lobe consolidation, this was confirmed by CT scan, I received 24hours IV antibiotics and 7 days oral antibiotics, 2 weeks later still no better, given more antibiotics and stronger pain relief, 3 weks after this no better so was sent for further chest xray this showed a pleural effusion, I wa asked to have another chest xray 3 weeks later and this shows the pleural effusion is still there. I still have pleuritic chest pain at intervalls, I`m getting more short of breath and have been coughing up blood. I am previously fit and well (appart fron a malignant melanoma 6 years ago that only required surgery)I have never smoked. I haven`t lost weight unitentially, but I am losing my apetite and feel washedout. Please can you help

Answer:

There are many causes of a pleural effusion which can range from a simple infection to a more serious illness. The symptoms you describe are quite complex and would be best evaluated by a visit to a pulmonologist to determine if additional testing is needed. You should discuss a referral to a pulmonary specialist with your primary care provider.

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Response by:

Jarrod  Bruce, MD Jarrod Bruce, MD
Former Third Year Fellow
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University

John G Mastronarde, MD John G Mastronarde, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University